Published Dec 22, 2008Leonard Cohen is getting his own little Christmas miracle this year after his song "Hallelujah" captured one of Britain's most coveted musical accolades: the official Christmas number one spot.
This past weekend, the 1984 ballad penned by the Canadian songwriter claimed the #1, #2 and #36 spots in the UK Christmas Top 40, marking the first time in more than 40 years that one title has secured the top two spots in the charts.
At the #1 spot was X Factor winner Alexandra Burke's rendition of the Cohen ballad, followed by Jeff Buckley's 1994 interpretation at #2 and Cohen's original at #36. Before this year, "Hallelujah" had never charted in the UK Top 40.
"Chart placings at one, two and 36 are remarkable for a 25-year-old song that has never previously reached the top 40," Martin Talbot, managing director of the Official Charts Company, told the Toronto Star.
Also marking a first is the fact that Burke's rendition of "Hallelujah" has become the fastest-selling single by a solo female artist in the UK, with the pop idol's release selling 576,000 copies in the last week. The previous record holder was held by Leona Lewis, another X Factor winner who sold 571,000 copies of her single "A Moment Like This" in December 2006.
And while this is obviously good news for Burke and Simon Cowell's X Factor, it also bodes well for the 74-year-old Cohen. The royalties from his song have reached close to the £1-million mark ($1.8 million CDN), which should go a long way in helping the financially struggling songwriter regain a bit of his lost fortune.
Alexandra Burke "Hallelujah"