Home   >   Movie Stars   >   C   >   Bruce Cockburn

Bruce Cockburn

Bruce Cockburn is a Canadian folk/rock guitarist and singer/songwriter. His last name is pronounced Coburn. He has recorded over 25 albums, and written songs ranging from sophisticated and soulful folk music to jazz-influenced rock to rock and roll.

Cockburn was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and began his career in the late 1960s in a band called The Children. By 1970, Cockburn had begun his solo career with the release of his first self-titled solo album. Cockburn's phenomenal guitar work and songwriting skills won him a devoted following. Early in his career, he became a devout Christian; many of his albums from the 1970s show evidence of his religious beliefs.

Although Cockburn had been popular in Canada for years, he failed to make much of a splash in the USA until 1979, with the release of Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws. Wondering Where The Lions Are, the first single from that album, became a minor hit in the US, even landing Cockburn on NBC's hit TV show, Saturday Night Live.

Increasingly, through the 1980s, Cockburn's songwriting became more politicized, and he became heavily involved with activist causes. Cockburn's second radio hit came in 1984 with the release of his Stealing Fire album and the song If I Had A Rocket Launcher, written a year earlier after Cockburn had witnessed Guatemalan refugee camps in Mexico being attacked by Guatemalan military helicopters. His political activism continues to the present: Cockburn has travelled to many countries, played benefits, and written many songs on a variety of political subjects ranging from the International Monetary Fund to landmines.

In the early 1990s Cockburn teamed up with good friend T-Bone Burnett for two albums, Nothing But A Burning Light and Dart To The Heart. The latter included a song Closer to the Light inspired by the death of songwriter Mark Heard. Cockburn frequently refers to Heard as his favorite songwriter and was one of many artists that paid tribute to Heard on a tribute album and video entitled Strong Hand of Love.

On March 5, 2001 during the 30th Annual Juno Awards ceremony (Canada's version of the Grammys), Cockburn was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. The Cockburn tribute during the Awards telecast from Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, included taped testimonials from U2's Bono, Jackson Browne, Cowboy Junkies' Margo Timmins and Midnight Oil's Peter Garrett. The Barenaked Ladies also performed their version of Cockburn's Lovers In A Dangerous Time. Best female artist nominees Jann Arden and Terri Clark also performed Wondering Where The Lions Are and double nominee Sarah Harmer performed Waiting For A Miracle.

In 2002, Cockburn released his first official greatest hits collection, Anything, Anytime, Anywhere: Singles 1979-2002 (though several previous albums had collected previously-published material: Resume, Mummy Dust, and Waiting for a Miracle).

Cockburn finished recording his 30th album in January of 2003, You've Never Seen Everything, which features contributions from Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, Sam Phillips, Sarah Harmer, Hugh Marsh, Jonell Mosser, Larry Taylor and Steven Hodges (Taylor and Hodges are known for their work with Tom Waits).

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) honoured Cockburn by inducting him into the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony was held on October 22, 2002 in Vancouver, as part of the Gold Ribbon Awards Gala at the 76th annual Broadcasting 2002: Leadership Through Public Service convention.

On November 27, 2002, the CBC's Life and Times aired a special feature on Cockburn, entitled The Life and Times of Bruce Cockburn.

In addition to a highly successful solo career, Cockburn's songs have been covered by artists ranging from Barenaked Ladies (Lovers in a Dangerous Time), Jimmy Buffett (Pacing the Cage), to the Jerry Garcia Band (Waiting for a Miracle).

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Bruce Cockburn Facts

BirthdayMay 27, 1945 (78)
BirthplaceOttawa, Ontario, Canada

Selected Filmography

Pacing the Cage
Bob Newhart / The Amazing Rhythm Aces and Bruce Cockburn
Watch This!: A Zoe/Rounder Video Compilation by Bruce Cockburn
My Beat: The Life and Times of Bruce Cockburn
Vince Bell: New Lamps For Old
Continue » Find more details on the Bruce Cockburn Movies page