Tear Jerker: Leonard Cohen

  • "Hallelujah" from Various Positions. It's been Covered Up a lot.
    "And love is not a victory march
    It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah".
    "Maybe there's a god above,
    and all I ever learned from love
    was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you."
    "And even though it all went wrong
    I'll stand before the Lord of Song
    With nothing on my tongue but hallelujah".
    • The version by John Cale, used in Shrek, is particularly gut-wrenching - and probably more affecting than the Rufus Wainwright version on the soundtrack album. Of course, when you're talking about this song, it's all relative...
    • Alison Crowe sings a heartbreakingly beautiful version of "Hallelujah" as well.
    • See Regina Spektor for her version.
    • And Jeff Buckley for his version.
    • And Voltaire for his.
    • Add Axel Rudi Pell's version, in its own way.
    • The apogee would have to the be the version turned out by the contestants and judges on The Voice in tribute to the Sandy Hook victims.
  • Another Cohen song would be "Stranger Song" from Songs Of Leonard Cohen.
    And then leaning on your window sill
    he'll say one day you caused his will
    to weaken with your love and warmth and shelter
    And then taking from his wallet
    an old schedule of trains, he'll say
    I told you when I came I was a stranger
    I told you when I came I was a stranger.
  • "Anthem" is also heartbreaking:
    "The wars they will be fought again
    The holy dove, she will be caught again
    Bought and sold and bought again
    The dove is never free"
    "Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    that's how the light gets in..."
  • "Bird On The Wire" from Songs From A Room, sad all the way through, but contains what is going to be L. Cohen's epitaph:
    Like a bird on the wire
    Like a drunk in a midnight choir
    I have tried, in my way
    To be free
  • Everybody knows the dice are loaded. Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed. Everybody knows the war is over. Everybody knows the good guys lost. Everybody knows the fight was fixed. The poor stay poor; the rich get rich. That's how it goes; everybody knows.
    • Everybody knows the boat is leaking. Everybody knows the captain lied. Everybody got this broken feeling like their father or their dog just died.
  • "I'll try to say, a little more - love went on and on; until it reached an open door - then love itself, love itself was gone."
  • "And what can I tell you, my brother, my killer, what could I possibly say? I guess that I miss you, I guess I forgive you, I'm glad you stood in my way..."
    • Although, these lines from "Famous Blue Raincoat" from Songs of Love and Hate may be even worse: "Thanks for the trouble you took from her eyes; I thought it was there for good, so I never tried." Then it's bam! Tears welling up every time.
    • Pretty much the entirety of Jonathan Coulton's version, surprisingly.
  • "If It Be Your Will" in its entirety, but especially: "Let your mercy spill on all these burning hearts in hell, if it be your will, to make us well."
  • "Tower of Song": "I said to Hank Williams, 'how lonely does it get?'/Hank Williams hasn't answered yet/But I hear him coughing all night long/A hundred floors above me in the tower of song..."
  • The beautiful and epic "Death of a Ladies Man."
    • "The man she'd wanted all her life was hanging by a thread/I never even knew how much I wanted you, she said..."
  • "The Story of Isaac" from Songs From A Room, full stop. I was running, he was walking, and his axe was made of burning gold.
  • "Suzanne" from Songs Of Leonard Cohen... It's not even necessary to quote anything. The nostalgic lyrics with the melancholic guitar, the Jesus parable, and Cohen's background for the song. Just sad.
  • "Are you the teachers of my heart?" "We teach old hearts to break."
    I was handsome, I was strong
    I knew the words to every song
    Did my singing please you?
    No, the words you sang were wrong.