Canadian pop music royalty shone brightly tonight at the opening ceremonies for the 21st Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. One of the top musical highlights was a stunning performance of Canadian poet/songwriter Leonard Cohen's song "Hallelujah" by Canadian singer k.d. lang. She first recorded the song in 2004 for her album Hymns of the 49th Parallel. She also performed "Hallelujah" at the 2005 Juno Awards. In the past three years the song has taken on iconic status. In 2008 American Idol contestant Jason Castro delivered a performance that generated such interest in the song that Jeff Buckley's much admired 1994 recording of "Hallelujah" topped the Billboard Digital Tracks chart. Later in that same year X Factor winner Alexandra Burke topped the UK pop singles chart with her version and Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" hit #2. More recently Justin Timberlake went to #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 with his interpretation of "Hallelujah" from the Hope For Haiti Now telethon.
Earlier in the ceremonies top Canadian pop stars Nelly Furtado and Bryan Adams performed a duet on a song titled "Bang the Drum" written by Adams. Sarah McLachlan joined the parade of stars with a solo performance at the piano. In another powerful tribute to Canadian pop music, Joni Mitchell's classic "Both Sides Now" provided the backdrop for a moving aerial and dance performance. Finally, Anne Murray, one of the bestselling Canadian pop singers of all time, was one of the notable Canadian personalities chosen to carry the official Olympic flag into the stadium.
- Watch k.d. lang sing "Hallelujah"
Follow Pop Music on Twitter
Photos by Cameron Spencer / Getty Images