John Cale
Fear Is A Man's Best Friend - John Cale



Words & music by Leonard Cohen

I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah


Your faith was strong, but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah


Baby I've been here before, I know this room
I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you
I've seen your flag on the Marble Arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah


There was a time you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
I remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah


Maybe there's a God above, all I ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who out drew you
And it's not a cry you can hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah


I Am Your Fan

About this song

On the I'm Your Fan album, various artists covering Leonard Cohen songs. Released in 1991. Also released on a CDEP with Cohen's version and The Queen and Me (aka Queen Victoria), a track co-written with Cohen.

An edited version was used in the Shrek movie, but it is not included on the soundtrack - Rufus Wainwright stayed close to his arrangement. Cale:

"I don't consider it my music, I consider it Leonard's. I'd always regarded that song as quintessential Leonard. That version was initially recorded for an Les Inrockuptibles compilation [1991's I'm Your Fan]. There were originally 15 verses to the song, some of them intensely religious, and I felt uncomfortable singing those, so I changed them around. If you watch the DVD extras on Shrek, there's one of a long conversation between the directors, an American lady and an Australian guy, I think, discussing how certain scenes came about. When they come to that scene, the guy is obviously a fan and the lady less so. He says, you know, expansively, like, 'Oh, John Cale's voice, whenever I hear his voice I wanna cry.' And the lady responds, drily, ''Well, there were a number of times during the making of this movie when I felt like crying too!' It was very funny."

In 2008 the song took a life on its won after a hopeful singer picked his for appearance on the American Idol TV show.A Tons of hopefuls have tackled the song since then, with very mixed results.

© 1999- Hans Werksman