And an acoustic cover of “I’ll by Home for Christmas,” sung by Jason and Michael Castro:
Video by Jason Castro (Okay, yes, the stache is unfortunate.)
The song, wistful and haunting, first recorded in 1943, was an instant hit, resonating strongly with soldiers at the front during WWII as well as with their families. It still speaks to those who can’t be with their loved ones during the holidays (or indeed at any time).
For more about that “part of our journey,” click on over to these…
This really was the “Hallelujah” TV cover that started it all. In 2008, when Castro performed a vulnerable acoustic version on Idol’s top 16 week, judge Simon Cowell noted that the late Jeff Buckley’s 1994 rendition was one of his favorite recordings of all time. This resulted in a huge sales spike for Buckley’s “Hallelujah,” propelling it to the top spot on the iTunes singles chart. The single was later certified platinum, 14 years after its original release and 11 years after Buckley’s death; at the time, this was the biggest digital sales spike for a song performed by an Idol contestant. Cohen’s original and a version by Rufus Wainwright also received sales boosts, and Castro himself appeared briefly in the top spot on iTunes chart (he was removed due to Idol producers not wanting to favor any one contestant; it was a very different world then). Eight years later, Castro’s “Hallelujah” is still considered one of the greatest performances in American Idol history.
“Hallelujah” has also been recorded by Rufus Wainwright, Bob Dylan, k.d. Lang, Bon Jovi, and countless contestants on American Idol (including season seven contestant Jason Castro, who had a minor hit with it and created another moment for Buckley’s version).
“Hallelujah” survived the doctor dramas and the evening-soap finales, but it almost succumbed to reality TV, where unseasoned vocalists repeatedly tried to impress their judges by remaking it with big runs and rococo flourishes. Jason Castro delivered the most celebrated “Idol” performance
So here’s the thing, Mr. Murray–Jason’s performance is the most celebrated because he did the opposite of “remaking it with big runs and rococo flourishes”; he sang as stripped down a version as there can be, and he still does, which is what lets the emotion shine through. And it’s always beautiful.
“There’s no one else I’d rather travel with,” Castro tells Billboard. “Truth is, being on the road is a challenge for anybody with anybody and being with family kind of makes it a lot easier. It at least makes it feel a bit more like home, and I’m just excited to share this whole process with them.”
A photo posted by Jason Castro (@jasoncastromusic) on
Thanks again for the recap, sierrach–and thanks for the finds, ArtTeacher and Jasonized!
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