Leonard Cohen Talks About Barbara And Lorraine, The Original Sisters Of Mercy

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I always remember to dedicate this song to the girls for whom I wrote it. And like a lot of my material it’s just completely documentary. It doesn’t concern high metaphysical questions but an accurate reportage as authentic and precise as I can make it, a description of exactly what happened on the interior landscape. And I was in Edmonton during a tour by myself of Canada, I guess this was around 67. I was walking along one of the main streets of Edmonton, it was bitter cold ; and I knew no-one and I passed these two girls [Barbara and Lorraine] on a doorway. They invited me to stand in the doorway with them. Of course I did. And some time later, we found ourselves in my little Hotel room in Edmonton and the three of us were gonna go to sleep together. Of course I had all kinds of erotic fantasies of what the evening might bring. Interviewer: How old were you ? Oh I was an adult. I guess I was around my early 30’s. And we went to bed together and I think we all jammed into this one small couch in this little Hotel and it became clear that it wasn’t the purpose of the evening at all. And at one point, in the night, I found myself unable to sleep, I got up, and by the moonlight – It was very very bright, the moon was being reflected off the snow, and my windows were very bright – I wrote that poem by the ice-reflected moonlight while these women were sleeping and it was one of the few songs that I ever wrote from top to bottom without a line of revision . The words flowed and the melody flowed and by the time they woke up the next morning, it was dawn. I had this completed song to sing to them.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Transcript of Pacifica Interview with Kathleen Kendall. WBAI Radio, New York City: December 4, 1974.

 

2 Replies to “Leonard Cohen Talks About Barbara And Lorraine, The Original Sisters Of Mercy”

  1. Roi Croasdale

    Does anyone know what became of the two backpackers from Sisters of Mercy? Did they ever know they were immortalised in song?