Cloverton – A Hallelujah Christmas 10

You may have never heard of Cloverton. In fact, chances are, you have not… unless you know me, then you have heard of them because I have probably raved about them. Cloverton is a Christian band that formed in Manhattan, Kansas. I first came across their music in December of 2012 when someone I know shared the music video below. This is one of those songs you don’t just listen to once, or twice, you put it on repeat and listen to it until your batteries die.

UPDATE: Video marked as private and is no longer available. Scroll to bottom of post to watch.

Wasn’t that awesome! I’m assuming you listened to it so if you didn’t, do it now! 🙂 Since I first heard the original lyrics by Leonard Cohen (I must admit I was probably introduced to that song via watching the movie Shrek) I’ve always loved the melody. Some of the lyrics I connected with, some I just thought were weird. But not the Cloverton version. I just love it all the way around. The music, the melody, the lyrics, even the xylophone. So when I found out the video was made in a doughnut shop and not a coffee shop, it made it that much cooler.

So, there is a bit of a mystery surrounding this song. Cloverton kind of made a big deal out of it when they announced it on their Facebook page. They announced it about 2 weeks before Christmas and by Christmas Day they had something like 30,000 views and by New Year’s Day they had like 100,000 views. Also, shortly after they released the video, the song was available on iTunes, then like a week later it was released on Amazon.com and within a couple days it became the #1 top selling Christian single on Amazon.com. It was getting major airplay time on K-LOVE and other Christian radio stations. K-Love even did a feature on it and played it constantly during the month of December and into the first week of January.

Then something weird happened… sometime in mid-January I went to show somebody the video on YouTube and I couldn’t find it.  I had searched for it dozens of times showing it to different people so I thought it strange when I couldn’t find it. I went to show the same person how they could buy it on iTunes or Amazon.com… and it was gone. All reference to it on their Facebook page had been taken down. The feature article on K-LOVE and that song were gone. Luckily, I had already purchased the song and downloaded it, so i could listen to it whenever I wanted.

My only guess is that somebody threatened them with a lawsuit for using the Hallelujah tune by Leonard Cohen and completely changing the lyrics. Legal threats is the only reason I can think of that they would remove such a wildly popular song from the web with no mention as to why they removed it. But that doesn’t make much sense either because this song has been done and re-done by so many artists, you would think that one more version by Cloverton wouldn’t make a difference (except, for the most part, the previous artists didn’t change the lyrics).

So you might be wondering why it is still on YouTube… I’m really not sure, but if you search for it on YouTube you won’t find it. However, lucky for you, I had a link to it so I was able to still get to it because it was only removed from search results, not completely removed.

If you are interested in some of the history of the song check out this article. It talks about the rise in popularity of the song and has YouTube videos of all the most popular versions of the song.

Jan 2nd, 2014 UPDATE: Cloverton started answering people’s questions on their FB page earlier this week with the following message,

Unfortunately, because of licensing issues, A Hallelujah Christmas is currently unavailable for purchase. We are in ongoing discussions with Sony and if anything changes we will definitely let everyone know. Have a great day!

So, Cloverton marked the YouTube video as private… but you can still watch it here:

10 thoughts on “Cloverton – A Hallelujah Christmas

  1. Reply Silver Warrior Oct 17,2013 11:49 pm

    Whaaaaaaaaaaat????
    I can’t buy it on iTunes?

    • Reply Chad Oct 18,2013 8:50 am

      Nope… it is no longer available on iTunes. Your best option is to use some sort of YouTube to MP3 converter to turn the Youtube.com version into an MP3.

    • Reply Joyce Varley Dec 18,2013 2:57 pm

      It should never have been available anywhere….let Cloverton take their lyrics, and put their Own music to it….instead of desecrating this beautiful work of art, by Leonard Cohen…..who certainly did Not give them permission to do this.
      The power and glory of this song is All to do with Cohen’s masterful songwriting…and nothing to do with this mediocre lyric rewrite. It is not, and never was a Christmas song…..all who like the new lyrics, fine….but don’t paste them on this iconic work of art.

      • Reply Chad Dec 19,2013 10:08 am

        Thanks for the comment! However, I’ll have to respectfully disagree. This is not the first time the song has been re-written. The song has also been covered more times than can be counted and many of the covers do not do it justice at all. When Cohen himself does the song live he rarely does all the same verses. That is part of the beauty of the song… it is versatile. And if it is not a Christmas song, why was it the #1 and the #2 song on the UK Christmas charts in 2008? This song means many things to many people and I happen to love the adapted lyrics Cloverton has produced. It is still a mystery to me as to why they took it down. My best guess is they did not get permission (like others who have changed it up have) to change the lyrics.

        • Reply Joyce Varley Dec 19,2013 10:54 am

          Of course they did not get permission…..others may have changed a word or 2 here and there, or decided which verses to sing, and which to leave out (as Cohen does himself)….there are a lot of verses. Or, others may have done all kinds of arrangements to it….that is totally a different thing than changing pretty much the whole song. And, whether or not it is deemed a Christmas song, doesn’t matter either.
          But Cloverton went much farther, and changed most of the words in the song…without permission. That is totally illegal…songwriter Do have rights…and, we need to protect them.

          • Reply Chad Dec 19,2013 10:38 pm

            According to this article (http://www.catholicregister.org/home/item/14300-catholic-reworking-of-leonard-cohen%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98hallelujah%E2%80%99-makes-singer-a-youtube-sensation), Kelley Mooney, was able to gain permission to change the lyrics of the song, record it, and sell it. So yes, others have gained permission to completely change the lyrics and record it and sell it. It seems apparent that Cloverton did not take the time to go through Cohen’s people to get permission to change the lyrics like Kelley Mooney and likely got slapped down by Cohen’s people once they found out about it. And I agree, songwriter’s do have rights, and yes we need to protect them, and Cloverton needed to go through the appropriate channels if they wanted to record a different version and they apparently did not. Still doesn’t explain why Cloverton is not responding to people when they ask what happened on their Facebook page or in the comments of the YouTube video…

  2. Reply Mel Dec 19,2013 4:49 pm

    Someone here needs to learn about copyright law and it’s not Cloverton.

  3. Reply Chris Hugo Mar 13,2017 11:52 pm

    This is one of the world’s most popular melodies of all time! Using it and superimposing completely different lyrics without permission from Leonard Cohen, is at best dishonest. As artists, Cloverton should have known better. It’s not very Christian to steal.

    • Reply Chad Apr 19,2017 6:25 pm

      Dude, c’mon… “not very Christian to steal.” Really? I hate the phrase “not very Christian” and I’ll tell you why. Why don’t you just say, they sinned. **Shocked Look** Someone sinned! I agree, Cloverton should have known better. And in the absence of any explanation from them, we really don’t know what happened. Maybe they tried to get permission, maybe they didn’t. Whatever the case, I’ve already talked about the fact that they were not the first to change the lyrics of that song and I’m sure they won’t be the last. It is one of the world’s most popular melodies as you pointed out.

      Consider this, Hallelujah by Cohen saw little success when it was first released. It has become more popular over time. Cohen’s version never made it into the top 100 on American charts until after he died in November of 2016.

      In the 90’s the song found greater popular acclaim through a recording by John Cale, which inspired a recording by Jeff Buckley. Following its increased popularity after being featured in the film Shrek (2001), many other arrangements have been performed by many and various singers, both in recordings and in concert, with over 300 versions known. The song has been used in film and television soundtracks and televised talent contests.

      As many on this thread have pointed out, Leonard Cohen’s song is a fantastic work of art. It is a testimony to his talent as a music artist.

      Many would say the same thing of Van Gogh’s painting, Starry Night. It is regarded as among Van Gogh’s finest works, and is one of the most recognized paintings in the history of Western culture. You could say the same for the song Hallelujah. The song Hallelujah is regarded by many as Cohen’s best song, and is one of the most recognized songs in Western Culture. You play that tune and many will not know that Cohen wrote it, but most will recognize it.

      And as often happens when people make an amazing piece of art, many others try to emulate it. Many others are inspired by it and that inspiration leads them to create something similar but yet unique. And always, those who love the original are either repulsed by the inspired work or they really like them.

      My daughter came home from school a couple months ago with a rendition of Starry Night she made in art class that I will hang on my wall forever. I really like the original, but I don’t own a copy.

      For a more in depth look at copyright and what it was originally intended for, watch this video:

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