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Bruce Cockburn

  • Canadian musician
  • Born May 27, 1945

Bruce Douglas Cockburn (; born May 27, 1945) is a Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist. His song styles range from folk to jazz-influenced rock and his lyrics cover a broad range of topics including human rights, environmental issues, politics, and Christianity. Cockburn has written more than 300 songs on 33 albums over a career spanning 40 years, of which 22 have received a Canadian gold or platinum certification as of 2018, and he has sold over one million albums in Canada alone. In 2014, Cockburn released his memoirs, Rumours of Glory.


I like to think that if it hadn't gone as well as it has, if I wasn't able to make a living off of playing music, I would still be playing the music. But, of course, I wouldn't likely have had the opportunity to travel, and a lot of the places have inspired songs.




'Each One Lost' I wrote the day after I got home. My week in Afghanistan was a very short trip, but it was a powerful experience.




I did a lot of writing for a lot of different kinds of bands that I was in and out of during those five years and that left me with a little body of songs that I liked better when I played alone, so I ended up going out solo and very soon made my first album.




I remember when the idea of living to be 40 seemed absurd.




Since the early '80s, I've found myself in war zones in various parts of the world.




There are some decision-makers in the world whose version of sanity is a little different from what I consider the right one.




If I try to understand what it means to be a Christian, I look at the two instructions that were given in the Bible that are paramount, and those are to love God with all your heart and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself. That's it.




I wear my shadows where they're harder to see, but they follow me everywhere. I guess that should tell me I'm travelling toward light.




We're confronted with great darkness as a species right now as spiritual creatures on this planet. I don't think it's hopeless, and I don't want 'You've Never Seen Everything' to make people feel hopeless. But I think we've got to call a spade a spade.




I'd always loved poetry and I'd always loved writing music and composing music, but I hadn't thought of putting the two together until around that time.




I wanted to play rock and roll when I started playing. Nobody at that time ever thought about songwriting. You sang songs, that's all. You sang other people's songs. That's all there were.




All I ever thought was, 'I'm going to do this as long as I can, and if I can't get paid at it, I'll be a bum doing it.' And so, here I am.




I'm not a pacifist. I feel that there are situations where fighting is inescapable, but we don't go looking for those things.




There was a lot more music than the size of the place would indicate.




It sounds strange to say it, but you can be in a war zone and have a lot of fun. Even though war is essentially pain on all sides, human beings have the capacity to enjoy themselves. The soldiers are mostly young people, full of enthusiasm and energy, and that's an exciting thing for an old guy like me.




A sane person doesn't think war is a good idea.




If you don't keep learning and growing, you're going to stagnate.




It's a phobia I have. I never assume I'm going to be able to write another album after I finish one.




I woke up one morning with this song in my head, and the opening line of the song is, 'My name was Richard Nixon, only now I'm a girl.'




'Gifts' was just a short little one-verse song that I used to close shows in the '60s.




The trouble with normal is it always gets worse.




The second half of the '60s really was a kind of learning period, in terms of writing, for me.




I can't imagine my life any other way than it's been.




A sane person doesn't think war is a good idea. I'm not a pacifist. I feel that there are situations where fighting is inescapable, but we don't go looking for those things.



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