The Real Sisters of Mercy Of Edmonton – A Leonard Cohen Reality Show
Oh the sisters of mercy, they are not departed or gone
They were waiting for me when I thought that I just can’t go on.
And they brought me their comfort and later they brought me this song.
Oh I hope you run into them, you who’ve been traveling so long.
“City Sisters Brought Cohen A Song” by Sandra Sperounes (Edmonton Journal: 23 July 2008) offers a concise discussion about the various versions of the night Barbara and Lorraine spent with Leonard Cohen (a meeting that Cohen transformed into his classic song, “Sisters of Mercy”), the sisters themselves, and the 1966 version of Leonard Cohen. According to the article,
His [Leonard Cohen's] five weeks in the city [Edmonton] in 1966 was his first visit here, and included poetry lectures at the University of Alberta and parties in his room at the Hotel Macdonald.
The following excerpt quotes Leonard Cohen’s retelling of the episode in Harry Rasky’s book, The Song of Leonard Cohen: Portrait of a Poet, a Friendship & a Film:
The Sisters Of Mercy were actually two young women that I met during a snow storm in Edmonton, Alberta. … And they came to my hotel room and there was something oh, very agreeable about their company. And they had no place to stay and they fell asleep on my bed, and I stayed up and I remember there was a full moon. And I felt like having something to say to them when they woke up, and that was one of those rare and graceful occasions when I was able to write a song from beginning to end in the space of a few hours. And while they slept I worked on this song. And when they woke up I sang it to them. It was completely full and finished, and they liked it. Barbara and Lorraine were their names.
Leonard Cohen – Sisters of Mercy
Wembley Arena, London
Sept 8, 2012
Video: Tim Dale