Gordon Downie Sings Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’

I frequently see Saint Ralph on the crappy movie channels that come with my cable package. It’s an incredibly sentimental Canadian film about a 14-year-old who tries to win the Boston marathon. During the climactic race, the soundtrack features Gordon Downie (the lead singer of the Tragically Hip) singing a pretty gorgeous version of Leonard Cohen’s seminal “Hallelujah'”.

Ever since hearing Downie’s version, I’ve been looking for the song online. I eventually got it from Mike, who explains:

There seemed to be only one way to get this version of the song in MP3 and that’s to create an MP3 from the audio output of “Saint Ralph”. Sophie, a Hip fan from Germany, saw my comment on the site sharing the Downie covers and offerred to help. She rented the DVD, created an MP3 and emailed it to me early this morning. Hallelujah!

This will tide me over nicely until Downie releases something official. I know a lot of people have been trying to locate this song as I’ve heard your empathetic pleas since I first wrote about the cover last August.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of film audio over the track, but it’s worth a listen.

I think Downie’s version rivals the most famous cover of the song by the late Jeff Buckley. You can hear Buckley’s version, along with 33 others, on My Old Kentucky Blog.

UPDATE: After eight years, a guy named Alex kindly sent me the studio recording of this song. You can download it here.

Written by dbarefoot

Darren Barefoot is an author, speaker and digital strategist. He’s the co-founder of Capulet Communications, and co-author of “Friends With Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook”.

59 comments

  1. Interesting rendition of this song.

    My favorite cover of “Hallelujah” is by KD Lang on “Hymns of the 49th Parallel” – the whole album is quite amazing.

  2. Really? I love that movie. I’ve been wanting to rent it so I can see it again, but unfortunately no video store near me has it.

    What crappy movie channel do you see it on?

    1. i HAVE JUST SEEN THE MOVIE ‘SAINT rALPH’ AND LIKE EVERYONE ELSE I LOVE THE SONG ‘HALLELUJAH’ CAN’T SEEM TO FIND IT IN MUSIC STORES BUT MY LOCAL LIBRARY HAS THE CD..PERHAPS YOURS DOES ALSO.. GW

  3. Zip.ca is excellent. I still rent from my local independent video store when I can, but at Zip.ca I can pretty much get any DVD I can think of. Including Saint Ralph which, although a bit on the sendimental side, is a great Canadian movie. I saw an advanced screening of it in Halifax, and I could hear everyone sniffling after the marathon scene. It was Gord Downie singing “Hallelujah” that clinched it. It worked perfectly.

  4. rye:

    Absolutely! In fact, the entire kd lang album is beautiful.

    No one, of course, does it better than Cohen himself. I have it on “The Essential Leonard Cohen” which also includes “Democracy”.

  5. At last! Thanks so much for sharing this link. I’ve been looking for this track ever since I saw the movie, and even contacted the studios to ask about releasing the soundtrack. Precious few songs have ever made me cry, and hearing this track at the pivotal point of the film was one of those moments. Although Downie’s version is absolutely gorgeous, I think we have to credit Cohen too for the simple yet powerful lyrics. Cheers to all.

  6. Darren:

    The best version of hallelujah is by Rufus Wainwright from the Shrek soundtrack. John Cale sang it in the movie but for some reason they substituted it with this even better version on the soundtrack. Jeff Buckley’s version is a close second.

    Saitn Ralph isn’t actually too bad either. I don’t know if I creid, but the ending clearly makes the movie …

  7. Thanks for the link to Hallelujah. I saw Saint Ralph, which I thought was very good, and was really moved by this song. This honestly is the first song I’ve ever searched for to download. Now I want to hear more from both Cohen and Downie.

  8. I can’t believe you have this song. I’ve wasted so much time this last week in a mad hunt for it. I adored the film, it possibly rivals good will hunting. I’m not sure yet.

    Thank you so much though. I’m making a documentary and I was wanting this song so badly for the end. Hopefully I can find a way to steal it.

    hallelujah, then, i suppose.

  9. I agree with all above!!! what a song, It is something you feel more than hear!

    And then I saw a commercial for ER tv show what bastards… brad pits ex ..with this song… ugghhh

    Bernie

  10. Ever since seeing the film St Ralph, I have been searching for the Gord Downie version of Hallelujah. It was the first time I heard the song. I have listened to a number of other version. It seems to be a song that gets to me emotionally by any performer, but none moved me the way the film version did. I can’t believe how hard I have looked to try and find this song! Thank you

  11. Thank you Sophie, Mike and Darren…Just watched this movie today and think Gord Downie’s version of this Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah is the best I’ve ever heard. I hope he will record this at some point. Thanks for sharing your website and this song.

  12. I didn’t know this Gordon Downie ‘s version. It’s interesting. Thanks for discovering this song…

    Hallelujah, a song with a very lot of different versions : Leonard Cohen of course, Rufus Wainwright, John Cale, Bono and my prefered Jeff Buckley !

  13. I loved this movie and the song blew me away! I tried to link on the above link and the page is blank. I need this song! I love Gord Downie his version of this song is beautiful…please help!

  14. I really love the movie it was amazing. When I first saw it on Tv I thought that I would be really bad. But i really love it. The song was amazing. I also tried to find it but no luck at all.

  15. We found them movie on cable.Loved the the song and here we are.
    thanks again for the download.

  16. I have been looking for this song since we saw the movie at the Toronto Film Festival years ago. Thank you so much!

  17. I saw the movie earlier and I wouldn’t usually watch something like that, but I thought it was a great movie. I almost cried too. I searched the song all day, listened to several other versions and you are right, Downie’s is gorgeous. I’d love a copy. Thanks alot for being there for us.

  18. Hey Darren –

    I came across your posting re the song Hallelujah from Saint Ralph while searching for it on the internet. Do you know how I can make a copy of it, preferably in my iTunes library?

    Thanks so much. Glad I found your site!

    Tom

  19. please email me the mp3 of Hallelujah by Gordon Downie
    I have been trying to find it for years.

  20. I also been trying to find this song. I recently watched St.Ralph and was very moved by it. It is truly one of the movies that you must watch.

  21. this summer when I see Gordie I will tell him all your thoughts Tom, He will be very thankful to you all

  22. Hi…I stumbled onto Saint Ralph on Netflix, I really enjoyed it. But boy the Hallelujah song was fantastic. I have been looking for it. If you could send it to me please do.

    Thanks,
    Kent

  23. Hello,my name is Nao from Tokyo.

    I watched `Saint Ralph’ today.
    I was searching ‘Gord Downie’s hallelujah ‘!
    But,I could not find it at amzon or you tube etc…

    This song and movie were amazing!
    So,I’m happy to hear this song at this site.

    Anyway Vncouver is very nice place!
    I went there for sightseeing at 2002.

    Thank you very much.

  24. If you are still send folks like us that song after all these years then we should rename your website SaintDarren Barefoot. Send it if you can and thanks for the info.

  25. Thank you; that was awesome. The movie track overlay sort of adds to this song for me. It feels like Downie’s solo work. I was struck by Gord’s voice actually sounding a little old, and not just twangy. First time I’ve ever thought that. Still beautiful. The lyrics are different than I remember from previous versions. Did he take poetic license or did he sing verses that others have opted not to sing? Long live the Hip and the GD.

  26. I’m a huge Gordon Downie fan. This song is great. If you could E-mail me this that would be awesome! 🙂 Thank you!

  27. If you still have the Gord Downie version of “Hallelujah” could you please send it to me please I have heard this version before and couldn’t figure out who the artist was until watching Saint Ralph, It would be greatly appreciated….. Jackie

  28. Hello,
    I see this page is dated 2006. I would really like to know if Mr.Downie ever released his version of Halleluhah. It is really extrodinary because it is reminiscent of American folk and Bob Dylan style but distinct.

  29. Sorry about the typos. Is there anyway to download the song, or get a copy which I am willing to pay for. Thanks.

  30. Please could you download a file which is in another format? Quicktime want $29.99 for Quicktime7Pro to download the file you have posted. Thank you.

  31. If you still have the MP3 file of the Gordon Downie’s version of “Hallelujah”, could you please send it to me? I was so moved by this song. Appreciate it!

  32. i would love to buy this song by gordon downie version of “HALLELUJAH” could you please send this to my husband alex, he love this song and thinks that gordon downie should make c.d. out of it. we both love this song. god bless you!! i hope you will respond soon because this would be the best gift i could give my husban of 35 years of marriage . please send this to us. thank you very much.

  33. Hallelujah has become one of my most favorite songs of all time. Please email a copy of the mp3. I have come to enjoy Justin Timberlake’s version and the Rufus Wainwright version popularized in Shrek, but they pale to Downie’s most heartfelt version, with memories from Saint Ralph, of course.

  34. And the requests go on… ;D
    I would love to have this, if you are still able. Much gratitude for taking a moment out of your day to share. Cheers!

    1. Gord Downie’s voice just mesmerises me. If you still have the download, I would LOVE to have a copy of it. Thank you!

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