1. Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah sung by the enormously talented Rufus Wainright.
2. Peter, Paul and Mary’s cover of Bob Dylan’s transcendent Blowin in the Wind became a huge mainstream hit in the 60’s.
3. I posit that Nick Cave’s The Ship Song is one of Australia’s greatest ‘unheralded’ contemporary spiritual anthems.
4. Australian aboriginal Archie Roach’s There is a Garden produced by Australian songwriter David Bridie might also be in contention.
When all the trees have gone,
All the rivers dry,
Don’t despair when all the flowers have died,
For I have heard, there’s a Garden somewhere…
When you hear the children cry,
When you see them die,
And Mother can’t sing a lullaby
I can smell the blessed warm spring rain.
We are young, we are old,
Oh but what we had, can’t be bought or sold,
And we are paying for your crimes,
Oh but everyday and every way, we get better all the time.
And when everything is gone,
And you’ve lost all hope,
And you have come to the end of your rope,
Well I believe that the flowers will bloom again.
5. Archie Roach wasn’t alone. Fellow Australian Aboriginal singer Geoffrey Gurrumul delivered some of the most spiritually powerful songs heard in the last decade. This blind aboriginal singer who plays the guitar upside down delivered this absolute treasure, Djarimirri. Soon after Elton John and Sting wanted to appear on stage with him.