How to Play “Hallelujah” on Guitar & Make Your Friends Cry

Arguably one of the greatest songs of all time, “Hallelujah” was originally written by legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen in 1984. Since then, it’s been covered by over 300 singers in multiple languages.

One of the most famous covers is the Jeff Buckley version. Other popular covers were performed and/or recorded by Bob Dylan, John Cale, Rufus Wainwright and K.D. Lang. Each version is unique and can even have a different lyrical structure.

The above video shows my attempt at the song. I’m no Jeff Buckley, but apparently I made one of my friends “ugly cry in the kitchen,” so I’m sure it’s not the worst cover out there! Below are the lyrics and chords that I used to cover “Hallelujah.”

Some notes: I rearranged and omitted some verses so the song wouldn’t be as long. There are so many verses and variations that you could pick and choose which work for you. I also had to create line breaks for the first verse so that the chords would align for those reading on smaller screens.

“Hallelujah” Lyrics & Chords

(Tuned down a half step in video above)

(Bass line goes to B between each chord transition)

C Am
C Am


I  heard there was 
a secret chord
That David played 
and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really 
G                                    C                   G
care for music, do you?

It goes like this
           F                          G
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall
and the major lift
           G                              E
The baffled king composing


              F                          Am
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
              F                          C          G 
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

C Am
C Am

(The rest of the song is the same as above, but you can variate the energy to build emotion.)

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

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

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

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah 

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

(I end the song with Am to be extra dramatic.)

I hope this post was helpful. The goal of this blog is to not only share my original music and cover songs but also to highlight musicians lessons/tips/tricks that I come across during my own musical journey.

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