The Holy or the Broken

Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of "Hallelujah"

The Holy or the Broken

Praised as “brilliantly revelatory…a masterful work of critical journalism” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), The Holy or the Broken is the fascinating account of one of the most-performed rock songs in history—Leonard Cohen’s heartrending “Hallelujah.”

How did one obscure song become an international anthem for human triumph and tragedy, a song each successive generation seems to feel they have discovered and claimed as uniquely their own? Celebrated music journalist Alan Light follows the improbable journey of “Hallelujah” straight to the heart of popular culture.
  • Atria Books | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451657852 | 
  • November 2013

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About the Author

Alan Light
Photo credit: Mary Ellen Matthews

Alan Light

Alan Light has been one of America’s leading music journalists for the past twenty years. He was a writer at Rolling Stone, founding music editor and editor-in-chief of Vibe, and editor-in-chief of Spin magazine. He has been a contributor to The New Yorker, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, Elle, and Mother Jones. He is the author of The Skills to Pay the Bills, an oral history of the Beastie Boys; The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”; and cowriter of the New York Times bestselling memoir by Gregg Allman, My Cross to Bear.