Just finished watching KD Lang sing Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ for the fifth time on tivo. Like everyone else, I naturally went to search for it to share. In doing so, I discovered something pretty amazing: this one song covered by so many A-list and pop-culture acts routinely earns 2-million views when covered (hint to emerging acts wanting to show their reverential side).
Here are my top 10 examples:
The man himself, Leonard Cohen, about 1mm views
Rufus Wainwright with Joan Wasser and Martha Wainwright from the brilliant biographical Cohen film, “I’m Your Man,” nearly 20mm views via 6+ other ‘related videos’ versions)
Jeff Buckley’s version, almost 14mm views
kd lang. 2mm views
Allison Crowe, almost 5mm views
Sheryl Crow, 2mm views
Amanda Jenssen, Swedish American Idol, almost 5mm views (there’s another post with nearly 800k views as well)
Four Norwegian singers including Kurt Nilson, almost 20mm views
Jason Castro, 2mm+ views
Bon Jovi @ MSG in 2008
What’s amazing about this song–also frequently referred to as “The Shrek Song” by the YouTube generation–is that other versions earn 10s of millons additional views. For example: Alexandra Burke, about 8mm views and John Cale, over 2.5mm views. If you’ve been doing the math within this post, you’re at over 80mm views of this one song and this is just from YouTube, not inclusive of other video sharing sites. We’re also counting just the head, not the tail versions of these videos. In aggregate I wouldn’t be surprised if viewership on this one song is over 200mm when you add all the long-tail occurrences. As with any longtail, I also expect that KD Lang’s performance tonight for the Olympics Opening Ceremonies will earn a lot more views per video.
I believe these number dimensionalize what Carl Jung meant when he quoted ‘the Chinese Master’ in Miguel Serrano’s “Jung & Hesse, a record of two friendships“: “a man thinking rightly in a room can be heard 3000 miles away.” Leonard Cohen, the master of word and song-craft, will be heard in every corner of the earth for ages to come.