Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen – an open cloze listening comprehension exercise

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Here’s another exercise based on Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah – this one is also a listening comprehension task, but a bit more difficult than the previous version because here you have to find the words on your own as there is no list to choose from (this is called an open cloze test).

You can try an easier version of the same song here – you only have to choose the words from a list in this exercise.

Earlier we featured two other Leonard Cohen songs, Suzanne and Famous Blue Raincoat – make sure you check out those exercises too.

More tasks will follow based on this song.

Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen: a listening comprehension exercise

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Leonard Cohen, one of the greatest musicians of all time, passed away on November 7 this year. We celebrate his musical legacy with a concert recording of his masterpiece, Hallelujah.

This classic is considered to be the most covered song ever, having inspired well over 200 covers so far. The song has many different versions and almost every performer changes the lyrics to a certain extent, adding or removing verses. Leonard Cohen himself played it quite differently over the years, including the variation in the final verse to suit the concert venue – in the case of this video, London; this was a highly anticipated and appreciated feature of the night everywhere. You can hear the crowd cheering loudly in the background for this line.

This exercise is not meant to be very difficult; it’s aimed at intermediate to upper-intermediate level students (between B1 and B2 levels on the CEFR scale).

Fairly soon you’ll find exercises here based on the vocabulary of this song, together with more listening comprehension tasks.

Earlier we featured two other Leonard Cohen songs, Suzanne and Famous Blue Raincoat – make sure you check out those exercises too.

Sting: Fields of Gold – a listening comprehension exercise

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Another gem from Sting: Fields of Gold. Not a very difficult listening comprehension task this time, probably between levels B2 and C1. Some of the vocabulary can be a bit tricky but Sting’s singing voice is nicely clear and easy to understand.

Check back in a few weeks for more exercises based on this song, especially vocabulary.

The Beatles: Eleanor Rigby – a listening comprehension exercise

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Once again, a song which is half a century old and still sounds as fresh and relevant as only few today. Eleanor Rigby was released in 1966 on the album Revolver, and it has been popular ever since. It has also influenced the English language as the line all the lonely people has become a set phrase. And how many songs can you think of that served as inspiration for a statue? See the cover image; here is the plaque in a more readable resolution:

Plaque on the statue of Eleanor Rigby

The difficulty of this task is about upper-intermediate level, or B2 on the CEFR scale.

Some words (mainly names) have been added to help you a little.

More exercises based on this song will follow.

Someone Like You by Adele

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Listen to the song Someone Like You by Adele and fill the gaps in the lyrics.

Feel free to stop or rewind the video whenever you feel it’s necessary but ideally you should play it once from start to finish and then for the second time only stop it once after every line.

This task is about B2 level on the CEFR scale.

There will be more songs by Adele, and also a different version of this same song: a text reconstruction exercise, where you’ll have to create the whole text yourself.

One by U2 — the background: a vocabulary exercise

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This task is based on the background story of the song One by U2. Read the text and for each gap choose the most appropriate word.

A listening comprehension task based on the song appeared earlier on EnglishFiles.com.

There will be more tasks coming based on this song, including another listening comprehension exercise and also vocabulary practice tasks later.

One by U2: a listening comprehension exercise

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Listen to the song One by U2 and fill the gaps in the lyrics.

Feel free to stop or rewind the video whenever you feel it’s necessary but ideally you should play it once from start to finish and then for the second time only stop it once after every line.

This task is about B2 level on the CEFR scale.

There will be some more tasks later based on this song — including a text reconstruction listening comprehension exercise, a reading comprehension exercise on the background of the song and also some vocabulary tasks to help you learn the words in the song.

Space Oddity by David Bowie — a listening comprehension exercise

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This is one of the most famous songs ever recorded. Space Oddity by David Bowie features practically on every Top Songs list and is also found on Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.

This listening comprehension exercise is at B2 level since the rhythm of the song is fairly slow and Bowie sings clearly enough to understand. The vocabulary is not very difficult, either, but you can alway ask for hints if you get stuck.

Listen to the song and enter the words you hear; feel free to stop the video whenever you like.

No Ordinary Love by Sade — a listening comprehension exercise

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This is probably not even B2 level as the vocabulary of the song is not difficult at all and Sade is quite easy to understand too.

Listen to the song and enter the words you hear; feel free to stop the video whenever you like.

The River — the background story: a reading comprehension exercise

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A few days ago we published a listening comprehension task on the song The River by Bruce Springsteen. The reading comprehension task below tells the background story of this song.

You have to put the sentence parts in the correct order to create the text.

Text source (with modifications).