'Idol' gives Jeff Buckley major sales bump

On last night’s American Idol, dreadlocked-contestant Jason Castro nearly brought Paula Abdul to tears with his rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Of course, it seemed to us that he was really imitating Jeff Buckley’s version, whose popularity has consistently outpaced the late singer’s other songs, chief among them, his mid-90s hit, “The Last Goodbye.” And sure enough, sales of Buckley’s “Hallelujah” went through the roof in the overnight hours, shooting up to No. 5 on the iTunes sales chart. Despite being a popular download for use in weddings and religious functions, the song was nowhere near the top 100 iTunes chart before last night’s Idol, according to an Apple spokesperson, who adds that it’s one of the biggest overnight pops in the history of iTunes, unlike anything they’ve seen since The Sopranos resurrected Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

Comments (9 total) Add your comment
  • Dean

    I think John Cale created the popular template for this song. I wonder does something like this renew interest in Cale? The internet makes it possible to hear versions of Hallelujah not promoted by the mainstream labels. It’s like a folk song spreading in hyperspeed compared to pre-YouTube etc.

  • Richard

    I thought it was significantly different from Buckley’s version. Castro’s version kept Buckley’s more plaintive moments while burrowing back into the narrative of the original Cohen. Anyway, it was lovely.

  • rockgolf

    Up to #2 at iTunes now. In fact if you search iTunes for “American Idol Performance”, then right-click on any of the headers and select “Popularity” you can see relative sales of all AI performances to date. David A’s “Imagine” leads by at least 2 to 1, with “Hallelujah” 2nd and “Hello” 3rd. Three of the top 6 sellers are by David Archuleta. Brooke is top among girls.

  • Steve

    Actually It’s funny you mention John Cale. Jeff heard his version of the song on the Leonard Cohen tribute album, ‘I’m Your Fan’ and he based his cover on Cale’s rendition.

  • skylights

    It’s at #1 now. I think this song is on its way to becoming a popular classic (as opposed to just classic).

  • pixie

    I thought Jason Castro’s performance was original and different from Buckley’s. Castro seems like the real deal to me. Excellent.

  • ANTM Freak

    Something good comes out of Idol? Wow. I guess a pig will find a truffle every once in a while.

  • Andy
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