Cockburn, Bruce Douglas
Bruce Cockburn fonds. 1955-2010. 3.3 m of textual records
and other materials; 2,691 photographs; 963 audio recordings; 83 moving
image recordings; 58 posters; and 43 items of realia.
Bruce Cockburn is a well known Canadian singer and songwriter. He was
born in Ottawa on 27 May 1945. After playing in Ottawa rock bands (The
Children, Esquires, 3s a Crowd), Cockburn became a folk singer
with a humanist, poetic style combining elements of jazz, rock and reggae.
His recordings include Sunwheel Dance (1971), In the Falling
Dark (1976), Dancing in the Dragons Jaws (1979), Stealing
Fire (1984), the singles collection Waiting for a Miracle
(1987), The Charity of Night (1996), and Breakfast in New
Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu (1999). Cockburn has written songs in
English and French; among his signature pieces are Goin
to the Country, Musical Friends, his 1980 hit Wondering
Where the Lions Are, The Trouble with Normal, "If
I Had a Rocket Launcher" and Lovers in a Dangerous Time.
Concert touring and regular album releases in the United States, Australia
and Europe have given Bruce Cockburn a solid international reputation.
All 31 of Cockburn's albums were recorded on the Canadian label True
North Records, while some distribution has been managed by the American
companies Columbia Records and Rounder Records.
Cockburn is also well known as a social activist. His song If
I Had a Rocket Launcher (1984) was inspired by a visit to Central
American refugee camps on behalf of Oxfam. In 1986 he performed two
benefit concerts that raised funds to help the Haida in their land claims
struggle. He has also worked with the Unitarian Services Committee,
Friends of the Earth and World Vision Canada. If a Tree Falls
(1989) calls for an end to destruction of the worlds rain forests.
The 1996 song The Mines of Mozambique documents the deadly
impact of anti-personnel mines. After addressing the land-mine issue
in dozens of interviews, Cockburn and singer-songwriter friend Jackson
Browne headlined a fundraising concert in Ottawa on 3 December 1997
that marked the signing of a United Nations treaty banning their use.
Environmentalist David Suzuki and musical peer Gordon Lightfoot inducted
Cockburn into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2001. Cockburn is
also the recipient of numerous other awards, including the Order of
Canada. Bruce Cockburn continues to actively write and record music
as well as support his humanitarian interests and causes. This biographical
sketch has been adapted from The Canadian Encyclopedia.
The fonds is very comprehensive and includes: 32 notebooks in which
Cockburn composed most of his song lyrics from 1969 to 2002; song sheets
and scores; correspondence, including fan mail; awards, including gold
records; promotional material, including posters; tour books; scrapbooks;
photographs; a copy of each of Cockburns recordings; video and
film items; and other material.
The fonds has been arranged in the following series:
Series 1 Notebooks. 37.5 cm (32 volumes; includes 6 photographs).
The notebooks contain most of the song lyrics composed by Cockburn
from 1969 to 2002.
Series 2 Song sheets, scores, lyrics, etc
Series 3 Letters and Other Personal Documents
Series 4 Charities and Causes
Series 5 Fan Mail and related publications
Series 6 Photographs
Series 7 Awards
Series 8 Promotional Material
Series 9 Tour books
Series 10 Folk Festivals and Other Programs
Series 11 Memorabilia
Series 12 Scrapbooks
Series 13 Sound Recordings
Series 14 Moving Images
Series 15 Publications and Clippings
Series 16 Legal documents
Series 17 Realia Guitars and clothing
Title based on creator of the fonds.
The first accrual (accession 2010-18) was acquired in 2010 from Bruce
Cockburn via his manager, Bernie Finkelstein. The second (2013-017) and third (2014-006) accruals were donated by Bruce Cockburn in May 2013 and February 2014. The poster (2013-023)
was donated by Barbara Bloemhof in June 2013.
Finding aid available electronically.
Restrictions: Musical instruments may be viewed but not played or tuned.
Further accruals are expected.