So it’s been established before that when songs are performed by the “American Idol” contestants, there is a bump in sales for the original recording, but at no point has this been more evident than this past week.
After contestant Jason Castro sang Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (whose most popular version was recorded by the late Jeff Buckley), sales went apeshit.
Buckley’s nearly 15-year old rendition of the song zoomed to the top of iTunes’ digital singles chart, with over 177,000 people downloading the song in the past week. Meanwhile, “Grace”, the Buckley album that features “Hallelujah” (and the only album Buckley completed in his lifetime), scanned 6,521 units last week, which would have been enough to place it on the Top 200 albums chart (indeed, it re-enters the catalog albums chart at #10). This, after scanning less than 500 units last week.
“Grace” has truly been a story of a classic album and word of mouth. The album, which never peaked higher than #149 on the Billboard Albums chart, has scanned in excess of 800,000 units in the years since. Of course, much of this can directly be attributed to the mystery of Buckley’s drowning death and the legacy he left, but a lot of it is just ’cause the music is good!
And for all folks say to down “American Idol”, you’ve gotta give props when something like this happens.
Here’s the video for “Hallelujah”