Among Christians who also happen to be fans of the rock n’ roll genre, whenever they hear “Hallelujah” in the lyrics, they sit up and take notice. This Hebrew word is shared among Christians and Jewish who praise God as an exclamation of joy whenever they feel blessed about something. In the Hebrew Bible, “Hallelujah” is used twenty-four times, twice in the deuterocanonical books, and four times in the New Testament’s Book of Revelation. Whether you’re a believer or not, there is a certain power behind “Hallelujah” as a word. With this in mind, here are ten rock songs that come to mind that use “Hallelujah” as an integral reason why it was so great when it first came out and why it is still a fan favorite today.
10. Hard Rock Hallelujah (performed by Lordi)
In 2006, (Hard Rock Hallelujah) was a winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 as a song taken from Germany’s BVMI-certified gold album, (The Arockalypse). In the group’s homeland of Finland, this was considered a pop-rock song as opposed to what North Americans would regard as either hard rock or heavy metal. When this song was released as a single, it topped the Finland music charts and was a number ten hit among eight other European nations. In the UK, (Hard Rock Hallelujah) charted as high as number twenty-five. Granted, this may not be a song that comes to mind as a Christian favorite but among the European audience, they still can’t seem to get enough of it. (Hard Rock Hallelujah) also broke a world record in the karaoke songs department when approximately eighty thousand people sang it on Helsinki’s Market Square on May 26, 2006.
9. Grace (performed by Jeff Buckley)
(Grace) was the title track from Jeff Buckley’s one and only studio album, which was released in 1994. Unfortunately for Buckley, the album was not a winner when it was first released and there was never an attempt on Buckley’s part to continue with a recording career. However, as time wore on, the popularity of the album, as well as its title song, rose. In 2007, the album became popular enough to earn certified gold in Canada and France, and platinum in Italy, the United States, and with Europe’s IFPI. In the UK, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) certified the album twice over while the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) did so eight times over. (Grace), as a song, was so highly regarded by so many people, including artists such as David Bowie, that it was inducted into the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry as of April 2, 2014.
8. Hallelujah (performed by K.D. Lang)
The original comes from Leonard Cohen, who first recorded (Hallelujah) in 1984 and is one of the best-known versions to date. However, many artists have covered this over the years, including K.D. Lang’s breathtaking performance at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Her stellar performance won over rave reviews and rightfully so. Granted, this isn’t a rockin’ classic as far as heavy beats go, but as a ballad, (Hallelujah) is nothing short of spectacular and deserves a spot on this list regardless. For Lang, this song was first recorded in 2004 for her album, (Hymns of the 49th Parallel). Even then, she earned critical acclaim for her performance and was the one to sing it at the 2006 Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame when the original artist, Leonard Cohen was inducted. In Canada, K.D. Lang’s version of (Hallelujah) became certified platinum, serving as a crowning achievement to Leonard Cohen’s legacy as a songwriter.
7. Better Than A Hallelujah (performed by Amy Grant)
Before venturing into the genre of pop music, Amy Grant’s recording career began as a contemporary Christian artist. In 2010, (Better Than A Hallelujah) sees Grant sharing her lyrical testimony as a believer, never straying away from her loyalty to Jesus Christ. Does this classify as a rock song? Ballads count as rock songs and this beautiful song certainly works as the best of many worlds, especially if you’re looking for a “Hallelujah.”
6. Good to Be Alive (performed by Andy Grammer)
As a rock song, Andy Grammer’s (Good to Be Alive) was proclaiming “Hallelujah” as a man who was glad to be alive. Released during the summer of 2015 during his run on Dancing with the Stars, the popularity of this song saw it become a number twenty hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Songs chart and a number twelve hit on the US Billboard Adult Top 40. On the US Billboard Hot 100, (Good to Be Alive) peaked as high as number twelve. It was also a popular song of choice for commercials, namely Quaker Oats and Walmart.
5. Chevrolet (performed by ZZ Top)
For ZZ Top, (Chevrolet) was a song that saw the group sing “Hallelujah,” while driving the car into the sunset. (Chevrolet) was one of the songs featured in ZZ Top’s 1972 album, (Rio Grande Mud), which was their second studio recording, just one album shy of (Tres Hombres) and one of their signature hits, (La Grange). As a song, (Chevrolet) may not be hit single material but it is a great highway rock tune, even if you happen to be driving a Dodge or a Ford.
4. Hallelujah (performed by Leonard Cohen)
Although this song was already mentioned, not listing Leonard Cohen’s original version of (Hallelujah) would be an insult, to the song and to the man. Cohen’s original version was a mix of early rock and roll with the gospel as a song that often made references to the scriptures laid out in the Holy Bible. The 1984 album version was good enough as a song but it was the live performances in 1988 and 1993 that catapulted the appeal of (Hallelujah) to new heights of popularity. This lyrical poet of Canadian origin has seen his song covered many times over were the two most beloved versions came from John Cale in 1991, followed by K.D. Lang’s 2004 recording and the 2010 live performance she held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. For Cohen, (Hallelujah) climbed as high as number one in France and New Zealand on their respective music charts, and was at least a top forty hit among the nations of Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. On the US Billboard Hot 100, (Hallelujah) peaked at number fifty-nine and on the US Billboard Hot Rock & Alternative Songs, it climbed as high as number twenty.
3. Glory, Glory (performed by The Byrds)
From the 1971 album, (Definitive Collection), (Glory, Glory) was a great single that was dedicated to Jesus Christ as the group’s Lord and Savior. Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish, this fan-favorite has been covered by a variety of artists from different music genres. As for the origin of this song, 1928 marked the year while The Elders McIntosh and Edwards’ Sanctified Singers performed (Since I Laid My Burden Down). Of all the artists that have covered this great song of worship done rock style, The Byrds remains an easy favorite.
2. Hallelujah Here She Comes (performed by U2)
Devout fans of U2 will know them as Christians loyal to Jesus Christ. When asked why they chose to cater to mainstream rock instead of strictly the Christian rock genre, it was explained the band’s purpose was to do more than simply isolate their style of music to a limited audience. (Hallelujah Here She Comes) was a song on their album, The Best of 1980-1990 & B-Sides, which was released in 1998. Although not released as a hit single, this is a fantastic easygoing song about a woman who has won over the narrator’s heart, giving him cause to sing praise.
1. My Sweet Lord (performed by George Harrison)
Although (My Sweet Lord) was technically a song George Harrison performed as his homage to the god of his choice, which was of Hindu religion, Christians also adopted this as their own as they made reference to their god of choice, Jesus Christ. In the lyrics, “Hallelujah” is often proclaimed in the song, giving praise to the Lord. When this song was released as a single in 1970 from his album, All Things Must Pass, it became more than just a number one hit on just about every official music chart it hit, including the US Billboard Hot 100. Among the nations of Japan, the UK, and the US, it was a certified platinum hit and achieved gold certification in Italy. To this day, (My Sweet Lord) commands attention, especially when it breaks out into “Hallelujah” as part of the lyrics.