In my time on the air, I have developed a small arsenal of catchphrases that I use. Sometimes, there are lines that I use on special occasions, even if they might seem rather obscure and strange. I once described an overnight construction project going "all night long, just like the Lionel Richie song." Now, that's an easy one to spot, given how popular Lionel Richie was in the 1980s, and that was one of his biggest hits. But, in the last year or so, I came up with a line that is rather obscure, even though I argue that it is not.
From time to time, when a really bad wreck finally clears up, I'll say, "Break out the Leonard Cohen songbooks and sing 'Hallelujah.'" Some may say, "huh?" but, as more years pass, Cohen's classic keeps becoming more familiar.
I was introduced to "Hallelujah" the way that many people my age did: through Jeff Buckley's version on Grace. I've heard a few different versions, including Cohen's own rendition, as well as John Cale's and Rufus Wainwright's, but Buckley's is still my favorite. The thing is, this song is not obscure at all, at least to me. John Cale's rendition is featured in a key scene in the original Shrek, the song was performed on American Idol and The X Factor, and most recently, Cohen's version is used in Watchmen. Just read the Wikipedia page for even more info.
So, it's not an obscure reference, but it's not like I'm talking about the National Anthem. Plenty of on-air folks have their stable of phrases. For me, it's about songs with lyrics that apply to the situation at hand. The deal is, not everybody knows these songs by heart. It could be worse: I once said, "Break out the John Rutter and sing 'Rejoice.'"