The Beatles: Eleanor Rigby – gap filling

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The famous Beatles song Eleanor Rigby has already been featured on EnglishFiles.com in a slightly more difficult task. This current exercise is easier as you only have to choose the words from a list:

The difficulty is around B2 on CEFR scale, or about upper-intermediate level.

There will be more exercises based on this song later.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

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The soundtrack of this version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow (originally from The Wizard of Oz) was featured in several films, commercials and radio shows, and the video was downloaded over ten million times.

Your task is to listen to the song and complete the text.

There will be more tasks coming later based on this song.

Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel – a listening comprehension exercise

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cover of Peter Gabriel single Solsbury HillSolsbury Hill is an important song in Peter Gabriel’s career for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it was the first song he published as a single after leaving his band Genesis, where he had been the lead singer since the start. Secondly, it is the song that he played the most often in concert: he included it in the setlist for every tour and played it no fewer than a total of 706 times to date.

2017 marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of Peter Gabriel’s debut album featuring Solsbury Hill and he (or his team?) came up with a special idea to celebrate: they put together a montage of his live performances of the song. In the video below you can see six rather different Peter Gabriels playing the same song, from 1978 to 2013.

The listening task that follows is not very difficult in itself as you only have to choose the missing words from a list. Later you’ll find more tasks based on this song, most of them more difficult than this introductory one.

We’ll come back to revisit this song (and this video especially) since the lyrics should be interesting to look at more closely and also because this version contains a slightly modified version of the final verse.

The River by Bruce Springsteen – a listening comprehension cloze test

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This is a bit more difficult listening task based on Bruce Springsteen’s classic, The River. You have to add the missing words – and some of them are not very easy.

Other available tasks on EnglishFiles.com based on the same song: a similar, easier gap-fill listening comprehension exercise and a reading comprehension exercise on the background of the song.

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.

Handle with Care – The Traveling Wilburys: a listening comprehension exercise

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Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize in literature earlier today and we’re celebrating it with a listening task, what else?

Most Bob Dylan fans will know that he was a member of the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys, together with George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne. The song featured here, Handle with Care, was one of the hits of this short-lived band.

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.

Leonard Cohen: Famous Blue Raincoat – a listening comprehension exercise

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I almost wrote “this is one of the most famous Leonard Cohen songs”, but you can say the same about a dozen of them, so let’s just say “another great song”. Your task is to listen to the original studio version and write down the words you hear.

Once again, this is not a very easy exercise (later you’ll get easier ones based on this same song); the difficulty is probably somewhere between levels B2 and C1 (advanced). Although the tempo of the song is slow and Cohen’s singing voice is fairly easy to understand, his imagery and poetic language can prove to be tricky.

Some words (mainly names) have been added to give you an easier start.

Fairly soon you will find more tasks here based on this song, including vocabulary exercises too.