The song Hallelujah! is based on an instrumental number that Vincent Youmans wrote during his military service with the US Navy and was played by Navy bands and also by John Philip Sousa . Ten years later, while preparing for a musical, Youmans' composition got a text by Leo Robin and Clifford Gray. The new song by Stella Mayhew and a choir in which was first introduced to Broadway - Musical Hit the deck , which had on 25 April 1927 at New York's Belasco Theater premiere. The song, written in E major in the form AABA , has a range of one and a half octaves , which can be traced back to its origin as an instrumental number; noteworthy is the Offbeat - syncopation the A-sections. In the London performance of the musical, the words Praise the Lord in the lyrics were perceived as sacrilege and criticized. The song begins with the lines:
- Sing hallelujah hallelujah!
- And you'll shoo the blues away
- When cares pursue ya, Hallelujah!
- Gets you through the darkest day.
First recordings and later cover versions
Nat Shilkret was successful with a recording of the song (Victor 20599, vocals by Franklyn Baur) in the USA; Other musicians who covered the song from 1927 included Phil Ohman / Victor Arden (Brunswick), Sam Lanin / Arthur Fields (Banner), Cass Hagan (Columbia), the California Ramblers (Edison), Art Kahn (Paramount), Harry Raderman (Okeh), Noble Sissle , in Berlin Arthur Briggs , Herbert Glad , Mitja Nikisch , Lud Gluskin and Billy Bartholomew 's Delphians Jazz Band, in Paris Jean Wiener / Clement Doucet and Sam Wooding and His Orchestra. In Russia, Hallelujah was interpreted by Alexander Zfasman ; a French version sang u. a. Henri Alibert (Pathé X.3587).
The discographer Tom Lord lists a total of 338 (as of 2015) cover versions in the field of jazz , of which the versions u. a. by Bud Powell , Kenny Burrell , Glenn Miller , Charlie Parker, and Fats Waller . The song was also sung in the two film versions (1929 and 1955) of the musical, 1955 by Jane Powell , Tony Martin , Kay Armen , Vic Damone , Ross Tambly and The Jubilaires.