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Bruce Douglas Cockburn (pronounced co-burn) (OttawaMay 27, 1945) is a Canadian folk singer-songwriterand/rock guitarist. His most recent album was released in March 2011. He has written songs in style range from folk and rock with jazz-influences into rock and roll.


 [hide]*1 Biography


Bruce Cockburn was born in Ottawa in 1945 and spent part of his childhood years on a farm near Pembroke (Ontario). In interviews he has said that he had found his first guitar around 1959 in the attic of his grandmother. He decorated the guitar with gold stars and played along with hits that he on the radio horde. Cockburn studied (not music) to the Nepean High School in Ottawa. At an album picture of him from that training (1964) was his wish noted to "musician". [1he went to the Berklee College of Music in Boston and followed three semesters in the mid-sixties. In 1966, he became a member of The Children, a band from Ottawa that existed for about a year. In the spring of 1967, he became a member of the band The Esquires. In the summer of that year he moved to Toronto to work with Marty Fisher and Gordon MacBain (Bobby Kris & The Imperials both from) and Neil Lillie (ex-member of The Tripp) to form The Flying Circus. This group took in late 1967 when numbers on which, however, were not released. In the spring of 1968 the members changed the name of the band was at the same time in Olivus, Lillie (who had changed his name in Neil Merryweather) exchanged for Dennis Pendrith (Livingstone's Journey). Olivus stood in april 1968 in the Act for The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream. In the summer of that year left with the intention to continue solo Cockburn Olivus, but there it came when not yet. He ended up in the band 3 's a Crowd of David Wiffen, Colleen Peterson and Richard Patterson, who had been fellow band member of Cockburn had been in The Children. In the spring of 1969 also left the band and started to Cockburn his solo career.

Cockburns first solo performance was at the Mariposa Folk Festival in Ontario in 1967. In 1969 he was the main artist. In 1970, he released his first solo album, Bruce Cockburn. His guitar work and composition skills earned him an enthusiastic reception on. his early work contains images of countryside and sea, Biblical metaphors, and the belief that the close proximity of heaven despite difficult circumstances. Although he had an agnostic background at the beginning of his career, he was a dedicated Christian. In an interview he said: "I was raised as an agnostic ... and when I became a Christian in the early 1970s, I knew exactly what was not yet what I had assumed". Many of his albums from the late 1970s refer to the Christian faith, also linked to attention in the 1980s for human rights and the environment. Cockburns references to Christianity in his music come under more reflected in the Grail-imagery of the British Christian poet Charles Williams and the ideas of the American theologian Harvey Cox. [2]

Cockburns popularity at home was located, but it was not until 1979 he broke through in the United States, with the appearance of the album Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws. The first single, "Wondering Where the Lions Are", came in June 1980 at nr. 21 in the Billboard Hot 100, followed by an appearance on the popular tv show NBC 's Saturday Night Live.

Cockburn was married from 1969 to 1980 with Kitty Cockburn and got from this marriage a daughter (Jenny, July 1976). The end of 1975 he wrote the song "Little Seahorse" about the time she spent in her mother's womb. This number can be found on the album In the Falling Dark.

Cockburns work was in the 80 's first stadser and much more mundane, and later above all more political; He was going to bet heavily on progressive topics. His growing political commitment expressed initially in modest form on three plates: HumansInner City Front and The Trouble with Normal. Clearer it came to light in 1984, with Cockburns second radio hit in the us, If I Had a Rocket Launcher (No. 88 in the u.s. chart), from the album Stealing Fire. This song he had written a year earlier after a visit to camps with Guatemalteeksen refugees in Mexico, which were attacked before and after his visit by military helicopters from Guatemala. His political activism, he has always loved. He's traveled to various countries (such as Iraqand Mozambique ), played on various benefit concerts and wrote a lot of songs about political topics, ranging from land minesto the IMF . His internationalist stance is reflected in the world musicinfluences in his work, including reggae and latin.

In 1991 came at the Canadian label Intrepid Records Kick at the Darkness , a songs for Cockburn. The album title comes from a phrase from his song Lovers in a Dangerous Time. The album includes a cover of that song by the Barenaked Ladies, which was the first top 40 hit for this Canadian band and contributed to their success in the early years. The words kick the darkness ('til it bleeds daylight) also come back on the songGod (Part II) by U2, on their album Rattle and Hum .

In the early 1990s Cockburn made two albums with t-Bone Burnett: Nothing but a Burning Light and Dart to the Heart. On the last album was the number Closer to the Light, inspired by the death of singer Mark Heard, who was good friends with both artists. Cockburn calls Heard frequently as his favorite songwriter and was one of the artists who contributed to Strong Hand of Love, a video for songs and Heard. On the title song from the album Cockburn performs.

In 1998 together with documentary maker Robert Cockburn Long traveled to the West African Mali, where he held jam sessions with the Grammy Award-winning bluesmusician Ali Farka Touré and koramasterToumani Diabaté. The journey of a month was filmed in a documentary by an hour, River of Sand. This won the Regard Canadien for best documentary at the film festival Vues d'Afrique in Montreal. It was also included in the competition for the international festival of environmental films in Paris. [3]

A part of Cockburns previously released material was collected on different compilation albums: ResumeMummy Dust and Waiting for a Miracle. The first greatest hitsalbum was Anything Anytime Anywhere: Singles 1979-2002 (released in 2002).

Bruce Cockburn completed his 21st album In January 2003, you've never seen everything, with contributions from Emmylou HarrisJackson BrowneSam Phil Lambert, Sarah Harmer, Hugh Marsh, Jonell Mosser, Larry Taylor and Steven Hodges (these last two are ex-members of Canned Heat and best known for their collaboration with Tom Waits).

Cockburn played at the Live 8concert in Barrie , Ontario on July 2, 2005. On 4 October 2005 Speechless from, an instrumental compilation of both ancient and new material. His 22nd album, Life Short Call Now, was released on July 18, 2006.

The Canadian senator and general Roméo Dallaire, who is active in fund raising for humanitarian projects and awareness-raising campaigns, joined Cockburn on stage during a benefit concert for child soldiers on October 4, 2008, at the University of Victoria. [4]

In 2009 traveled to Afghanistan to Cockburn are stationed there brother Captain John Cockburn to visit and to give a concert for Canadian soldiers. He gave a performance of his famous antimilitarist song If I Had a Rocket Launcher and got a real rocket launcher for the occasion of the Canadian Army. He has indicated that although he with doubt looked at the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, he supports the Canadian role in Afghanistan. [5]

Cockburn brought in 2011 are Small Source of Comfort from studio album. On that album is the cheerful instrumental number Lois on the Autobahn Rouler sa Bosse , based on the album's Salt, Sun and Time from 1974, and dedicated to his mother Lois succumbed to cancer in 2010.


Cockburn wrote and sang the introduction song for the children's tv series Franklin. Together with Hugh Marsh wrote and played the music for Water walker, a documentary from the National Film Board of Canada 1984, directed by Bill Mason. He also made two songs for the classic English-Canadian film goin' Down the Road (1970, Donald Shebib).

In 2007 was Ecstasy, Cockburns music in the film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Irvine Welsh.

Covers and tributes[Edit]Edit

The work of Bruce Cockburn has been covered by diverse artists such as Barenaked Ladies ("Lovers in a Dangerous Time"), Judy Collins ("Pacing The Cage"), Jimmy Buffett ("Pacing the Cage", "Anything Anytime Anywhere", "All the Ways I Want You" and "Wondering Where the Lions Are", in the film Hoot), Michael Hedges ("Wondering Where the Lions Are"), Lori Cullen ("Fall"), Anne Murray ("One Day I Walk", "Musical Friends"), Dianne Heatherington and Ani DiFranco ("Mama Just Wants to Barrelhouse All Night Long"), The Rankin Family ("One Day I Walk"), Dan Fogelberg ("Lovers in a Dangerous Time"), Donavon Frankenreiter("Wondering Where the Lions Are"), Vigilantes of Love ("Wondering Where the Lions Are"), Tom Rush ("One Day I Walk"), George Hamilton IV ("Together Alone"), The Jerry Garcia Band ("Waiting for a Miracle"), Holly Near ("To Raise The Morning Star") and k.d. lang ("One Day I Walk"). His compatriot Steve Bell also took a complete album with Cockburn-covers on, entitled My Dinner With Bruce and brought jazz guitarist Michael Occhipinti album with jazz arrangements of Cockburn-work.

Prizes and awards[Edit]Edit

Bruce Cockburn in 1982 was a member of the order of Canada and was promoted to officer in 2002.

At the 30th Juno Awardsceremony, on 5 March 2001, Cockburn added to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. The tribute performances at this annual festival consisted of video responses by BonoJackson Browne, Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) and Peter Garrett (Midnight Oil). The Barenaked Ladies released their version of "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" will be performing. Jann Arden and Terri Clark, nominees for best female artist, played "Wondering Where the Lions Are" and Sarah Harmer played "Waiting for a Miracle".

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters honoured Cockburn by to add him to the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame. The ceremony was held in Vancouveron 22 October 2002, as part of the Gold Ribbon Awards Gala on the 76th Convention of the organization.

On 27 november 2002 the Life and times of the CBC series devoted a special to Cockburn, titled The Life and Times of Bruce Cockburn, a production of Robert long of Kensington Communications in Toronto.

The cover design for his album Breakfast in New Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu in 1999, dominated by bold text in Helvetica, was shown at the exhibition "50 years of Helvetica" from april 2007 to March 2008 in theMuseum of Modern Art in New York.

In May 2007, he received two honorary doctorates, the fourth and fifth in his career. First granted the Queen's University in Kingston (Ontario) him a honorary doctorate in theology and later he was given the same title in literature of the Memorial University of Newfoundland for his many years of contributions to the Canadian music and culture and social activism. He had previously received honorary doctorates from York University in Toronto, the Berklee College of Music (Boston) and the St. Thomas University in New Brunswick.

In 2012, he was awarded the medal for the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II[6]


The discussion group "Humans" is one of the oldest e-mail lists devoted to a specific artist. [7the Colophon Cockburns's album The Charity of Night creates an entry for the group.


Cockburn has over the years played on guitars that are made by several companies and luthiers . On many early photos one can see him play on guitars that were manufactured by the Canadian guitar maker Larrivée. Its demand for an acoustic copy with better access to the higher frets Jean Larrivée guitars series resulted in the C. This innovation included an open work copy, which at acoustic guitars with a flat top was previously a rare phenomenon. Cockburn has had at least two guitars by the originating luthier David Wren from Toronto (a pupil of Larrivée) were made, but these were destroyed in a fire.

In the past years, Bruce Cockburn played on guitars that were custom made by Linda Manzer, likewise a Canadian luthier from the school of Larrivée. Also, he plays a Resolectric-model of the National String Instrument Corporation of America, and a resonator guitar with steel body of the Dobrobrand. He has also the Baritone, manufactured by Tony Kartol from Ontario, discovered.


Studio albums[Edit]Edit

  • Bruce Cockburn (1970)
  • High Winds, White Sky (1971)
  • Sunwheel Dance (1972)
  • Night Vision (1973)
  • Salt, Sun and Time (1974)
  • Joy Will Find a Way (1975)
  • In the Falling Dark* (1976)
  • Further Adventures Of* (1978)
  • Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws* (1979)
  • Humans* (1980)
  • Inner City Front* (1981)
  • The Trouble with Normal* (1983)
  • Stealing Fire* (1984)
  • World of Wonders (1986)
  • Big Circumstance (1988)
  • Nothing but a Burning Light (1991)
  • Christmas (1993)
  • Dart to the Heart (1994)
  • The Charity of Night (1996)
  • Breakfast in New Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu (1999)
  • You've Never Seen Everything (2003)
  • Speechless (2005)
  • Life Short Call Now (2006)
  • Small Source of Comfort (2011)

* = Reissued with bonus tracks (2002 – 2003)

Live Albums[Edit]Edit

  • Circles in the Stream+ (1977)
  • Bruce Cockburn Live* (1990)
  • You Pay Your Money and You Take Your Chance (1997)
  • Bruce Cockburn — Live on Cafe World (2002); bonus album by Borders Books and Music
  • Slice O' Life — Solo Live (2009)

+ = Reissued by Rounder Records, without bonus tracks

* = Reissued with bonus tracks (2002 – 2003)


  • Resume* (1981, USA)
  • Mummy Dust* (1981, Canada)
  • Rumours of Glory* (1985, Germany)
  • Waiting for a Miracle: Singles 1970 – 1987* (1987, Canada/US)
  • If a Tree Falls* (1990, Australia)
  • Anything Anytime Anywhere: Singles 1979-2002* (2002)
  • Speechless * (2005) – instrumental versions of previous songs

* = These compilations contain previously released material, but also one or more new tracks.

Other expenditure[Edit]Edit

  • Ribbon of Darkness", a song on A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot
  • Strong Hand of Love, a song on the tributealbums Strong Hand of Love (1994) and Orphans of God (1996) for Mark Heard
  • Lord of the Starfields (with Rob Wasserman), Lovers in a Dangerous Time (ditto) and Cry of a Tiny Babe (with Lou Reed, Rosanne Cash and Rob Wasserman), on The Best of The Columbia Records Radio Hour, Volume 1 (1995)
  • Last Night of the World on the WXPN compilation album Live at the World Café-Volume 9 (1999)


  • All the Diamonds, a collection of early music by Bruce Cockburn. Ottawa Folklore Centre, Ottawa
  • Rumours of Glory, the second collection of music by Bruce Cockburn. Ottawa Folklore Centre

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