"Tower of Song: The Songs of Leonard Cohen" - Various Artists


U2 Related Content:

Full Track Listing:

  • Everybody Knows – Don Henley (6:11)
  • Coming Back to You – Trisha Yearwood (3:36)
  • Sisters of Mercy – Sting & the Chieftens (3:20)
  • Hallelujah – Bono (4:57)
  • Famous Blue Raincoat – Tori Amos (5:38)
  • Ain’t No Cure for Love – Aaron Neville (3:39)
  • I’m Your Man – Elton John (4:09)
  • Bird on a Wire – Willie Nelson (4:20)
  • Suzanne – Peter Gabriel (5:14)
  • Light as the Breeze – Billy Joel (6:12)
  • If it Be Your Will – Jann Arden (5:27)
  • Story of Isaac – Suzanne Vega (4:08)
  • Coming Back to You – Martin Gore (3:32)

Background Information

Leonard Cohen is a Canadian singer / song-writer / poet, born in 1934, who has been producing music since his first self-titled album in 1967. “Hallelujah” is one of his most famous songs, and was released on his 1984 album “Various Positions”. The song initially had limited success, but attention was shone on the song by covers by John Cale, Jeff Buckley and kd Lang. It is “Hallelujah” that Bono covers on this compilation album.

Bono was interviewed by author Alan Light for his book “The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley & The Unlikely Ascent of Hallelujah” which traced the song from Cohen’s origin throughout the years as it gained in popularity. Bono says “I wasn’t sure why I agreed to do this interview, but then I remembered that I needed to apologize to the world — I didn’t just let myself down, or my parents, I let the whole school down.” He continues, “The lyric explains it best. There’s the holy and the broken hallelujah, and mine was definitely the broken one. It was one of those moments — desperate, even wretched, and I was in desperate need of these words, and that’s the only excuse. If you’re that desperate to hear it, you sing it. It might be the most perfect song in the world.”

In 1995, an interviewer tried to goad Cohen into criticizing Bono’s performance of “Hallelujah”, even pointing out that Bono changes the lyrics. Cohen praises Bono calling David “the first great blues singer” commenting “It’s very beautiful. I never heard that description before. He’s very smart that guy.” And after the lyric change is pointed out, Cohen had some fun with the interviewer responding in mock outrage “He did? He’s had it. He’s out.” and later “He’s ruined it. He’s dead.”

Howie B. was first brought in to meet the band when Bono was working on the recording of “Hallelujah” as a potential producer for the song that Bono was struggling with. He then worked with the band on the Passengers album, and then would produce “Pop”.

U2 would often play snippets of “Hallelujah” live in concert, often adding it at the end of the show during the PopMart concerts.

The compilation album “Tower of Song” was released in Canada with a cover that was taken from the back cover of Cohen’s album “Songs of Leonard Cohen” a version of the painting “Anima Sola” featuring a woman in chains engulfed in flames. The cover was changed for the international release, instead featuring a notebook cover with the title of the album on it, and a note with the artists listed.

The inside liner notes features a picture of Bono leaning against a light covered with oriental characters, holding an umbrella, wearing his fly shades.

Liner Notes

Written by Leonard Cohen. Lead vocal, bacing vocals, finger clicks: Bono. Backing vocals: Louise McCormick. Keys: Jeremy Shaw. Produced by Bono. Engineered, mixed and recorded by Louise McCormick. Additional production and remix: Howie B. Assistant engineers: Will and Danny.

Related Promotional Videos

Related News

Catalog of Releases