Wyclef Jean and George Clooney were joined by hundreds of celebrities in “Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief” on Friday January 22. The concert and telethon was focused on raising funds for medical care, food and infrastructural repairs in the devastated Caribbean nation. Actors, athletes, singers and television hosts appeared in Los Angeles, New York and London to perform, endorse the campaign, and answer the phones. The campaign continues as a cause on Facebook.
In the eyes of many viewers the most evocative performance of the night was Justin Timberlake singing Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah”, accompanied by Matt Morris on guitar and vocals. Written by singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen and released on his 1984 studio album Various Positions, the song reportedly took a year to write and includes 80 available verses and at least two wholly original renditions. The song contains several biblical references, including allusions to Samson and Delilah and King David and Bathsheba, heightening the song’s hymn-like quality. In 1994, Jeff Buckley released arguably the most famous cover of the song on his album Grace. Nearly 200 additional covers have been recorded by artists as diverse as k.d. lang, Bob Dylan and Rufus Wainwright, whose version was included on the “Shrek” soundtrack, though it was John Cale’s rendition that was used in the film.
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