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Music / Bruce Cockburn

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When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Sometimes you're made to feel as if your love's a crime
But nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight
Got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight
— "Lovers in a Dangerous Time"

Bruce Douglas Cockburn OC (pronounced "COH-burn"; born May 27, 1945 in Ottawa, Ontario) is a Canadian Singer-Songwriter and guitarist known for his spiritual lyrics.


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    Studio albums 
  • Bruce Cockburn (1970)
  • High Winds, White Sky (1971)
  • Sunwheel Dance (1971)
  • 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 - The Instrumentals (2005)
  • Life Short Call Now (2006)
  • Small Source of Comfort (2011)
  • Bone on Bone (2017)
  • Crowing Ignites (2019)

    Live albums 
  • Circles in the Stream (1977)
  • Bruce Cockburn Live (1990)
  • You Pay Your Money and You Take Your Chance (1997)
  • Slice O Life - Live Solo (2009)


  • Album Title Drop: "Hills of Morning" on Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the third verse of "Dancing In Paradise", Bruce goes on an extended diatribe about the terrible things going on in "Paradise". The last observation?
    And there's a Kung-Fu Movie in every town.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Most of his albums include French translations of his lyrics. A handful of his older albums include at least one song written in French, and his Christmas album includes him singing in Spanish and Huron.
  • Bittersweet Ending: "The Rose Above the Sky"
  • Christmas Songs: "Christmas Song" (on Salt, Sun and Time), "Cry of a Tiny Babe" (on Nothing But a Burning Light). And, of course, the entire Christmas album.
  • Cover Version: He ended one of his live albums with a cover of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from Monty Python's Life of Brian.
  • Crapsack World: A lot of his more political work has this theme, especially The Trouble With Normal, Stealing Fire, and You've Never Seen Everything.
  • Darker and Edgier: Humans marked a departure from his sunnier earlier work.
  • Empathic Environment: "The Coldest Night of the Year" is about a guy missing his girlfriend on a bitterly cold and dark winter night.
  • God-Is-Love Songs: "All The Diamonds in the World"
  • Intercourse with You: "Sahara Gold", "Mango", "Wait No More".
  • New Sound Album: The Trouble with Normal was noticeably more synth-driven than his earlier works. Nothing But a Burning Light signaled a move back to a rootsier sound (this and the next album would be produced by T-Bone Burnett). The Charity of Night was another shift into a more expansive, jazzy sound with more spoken-word pieces.
  • Pop-Star Composer: He performed the theme song for Franklin.
  • Precision F-Strike: "You Get Bigger As You Go" ("...too dogshit tired..."), "Call It Democracy" ("It's just spend a buck to make a buck / You don't really give a flying fuck /About the people in misery.")
    • Funnily enough, Bruce's mother was more upset about his use of "IMF, dirty MF" in the chorus of "Call It Democracy", which generally went unnoticed by the censors.
    • The last line of "If I Had a Rocket Launcher" is a very emphatic, "If I had a rocket launcher, some son of a bitch would die!"
  • Protest Song: Several, including "If I Had a Rocket Launcher" and "Call It Democracy".
  • Vocal Evolution: His voice on his earliest albums is a fair bit higher and gentler than what would come later.
  • A World Half Full: Very much so; even his most dour works have an undercurrent of hope.
  • You Cannot Kill An Idea: "Maybe the Poet":
    Put him up against the wall
    Shoot him up with pentothal

    Shoot him up with lead
    You won't call back what's been said
    Put him in the ground
    But one day you'll look around

    There'll be a face you don't know
    Voicing thoughts you've heard before