In that context, I always think of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” I was quite taken by the lyrics the first time I heard the song. “Get the Jeff Buckely version,” I was told. So I bought his CD titled “Grace.” I don’t like any of the ten tracks except the “Hallelujah” one. And that one I love. I just think Cohen created a masterful combination of lyrics and melody. An alleluia to be accompanied by bag pipes and so incredibly close to a dirge. And Buckley’s voice and treatment, to me, were the perfect delivery vehicle. No other version of the song have I ever liked anywhere near as much Jeff’s, including Cohen’s. As far as I know, Buckley has never had another hit like that. It’s as if he was made to do just that song. He contributed his verse.
Another musical moment. The first time I heard Jackie Evancho sing. The One and Only Squeeze had “America’s Got Talent,” or whatever it was on, and I wasn’t paying attention to it. I was walking through the TV room and Jackie started to sing “Pie Jesu.” Her voice flat stopped me in my tracks. The voice was crystalline, pure, undefiled. I thought that voice had never uttered a cross word, only words of glory and praise. An angel’s voice on the boob tube, for heaven’s sake. She’s done other things. But I will never forget hearing her glorious rendition of “Pie.” She contributed that verse for me.
A week ago, the Squeeze took me to see “Florence Foster Jenkins.” The movie contributed another verse. Last fall our choir director put out a call for a male choir for the eight o’clock Christmas Mass. He wanted twelve members and only had eleven. I told him I could add volume but not music to the choir. He signed me up. I have been with the choir since. I haven’t been voted out of the choir loft, but only because the other members are Christians.
Anyway, near the end of the movie, the Florence character says, “They can say I didn’t sing well, but they can’t say I didn’t sing.”
That’s my musical verse, even if Meryl Streep said it first.