- Written by Leonard Cohen and Jennifer Warnes (and not forgetting Bill ;))
- Recorded by Jennifer Warnes in 1986 on her album "Famous Blue Raincoat"
- Later also by Christine Andreas, Arrandale, Suzy Burke, Diane Davidson, Barbara Dickson, Duo Balance, Tony Kenny, Deanna Kirk, Bette Midler, Jane Mortifee, Anne Murray, Aaron Neville, and Elizabeth von Trapp
Info transcribed from: http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/rte.html "You'd search a long time to find two people more unalike than Janis Joplin and Bernadette Soubiroux - Bernadette of Lourdes. Yet she too inhabits the world of Cohen's lyrics. The idea for the song of Bernadette came from Cohen's long time backing singer, Jennifer Warnes.
LC : Jennifer was brought up as a Catholic girl and we were on tour together and she was talking about Bernadette all the time and I always was fascinated by the figure too, and she said I really want you to write me a song about Bernadette, here's like a couple of lines of a tune, here's my idea. So the song came out it was a real collaboration we really worked together on the thing.
JM: Song of Bernadette works on several levels. There the young visionary of February and March 1858 with that apparition in her soul. A vision no-one believed. And, there are the rest of us with our own visions and dreams, which no-one, least of all ourselves, can believe in. Once we realise that visions don't last - they disappear - and we end up running and falling, rather than flying. There's Bernadette, true to her belief and finally rewarded with the knowledge that there is mercy in the world. There's Leonard Cohen, acknowledging that each of us is torn by what we've done and can't undo.
Leonard Cohen : I think that we mostly do fail in these things, but the thing that makes these failures supportable are these moments like the one I tried to talk about in Hallelujah or the one I tried to talk about in Bernadette it's those are the moments when the thing is resolved - the thing is reconciled - not actually by moving pieces around it's not a chess game. As I say in my new version of Hallelujah, 'I've seen your flag on the marble arch, but love is not a victory march, it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah.' Nobody's going to win this, not the men not the women not the socialists, not the conservatives. Nobody's going to win this deal. The only time we win is that moment when we drop the battle and we affirm the whole situation with this embrace.
JM: Ultimately the song of Bernadette is a plea for love. A celebration of the joy of faith. A statement of belief that we can get through to something clearer. It's one of Cohen's fiercest and most powerful lyrics.
Leonard Cohen: But I never sang the song alone; I've only sung it with Jennifer. It's a beautiful song I think.