Scanning These Crowds

“…is in a sense about love but it’s also kind of a call for armed revolution in Canada or at least insurrection. It’s a cry of frustration with the status quo for a return of the revolutionary spirit that’s crept up every now and then in Canadian history that generally we don’t think of as our national makeup.”Bruce Cockburn (53)

If A Tree Falls

“I actually remember hearing a radio program on the subject of the destruction of the South Asian rainforest. So I wrote this song about it.”Bruce Cockburn (53)


“What I was writing about at that moment was something I discovered about the human spirit at that time. Most of the time most of us live in a gray zone where we have our peaks and valleys but most of it is not extreme. In terms of our own spiritual state and in terms of moral transcendence. But every now and then the situation that we’re confronted with requires more of us and produces more from us. And it seemed to me that somewhere in the world at any given moment that spirit is just burning like mad. And at that moment, Nicaragua was where it was. There was an incredible feeling of forward movement and of hope in the face of adversity. It was just a magical thing to be next to.”Bruce Cockburn (54)

If I Had A Rocket Launcher

“This is a statement of pure rage. The punk movement was full of stuff like that but it degenerated into a fashion statement after a fairly short time. Rocket Launcher is exactly what I saw there and exactly the way I felt. You’re listening to these unbelievable stories of atrocities that these people [in Nicaragua during the revolution – Ed] have survived and witnessed and hearing the helicopters in the background. It was like a B-movie from the forties. I was drinking a whole bunch of Scotch and I was crying, writing that song. It all came out in a lump.”Bruce Cockburn (54)

Wondering Where The Lions Are

“This was wrote during the cold war when a relative of mine (who works for the Government) said to me one day, “we could wake up tomorrow to a nuclear war.” I woke up the next morning, there was no nuclear war. It was a real nice day and there was all this good stuff going on, and I had a dream that night which is the dream that is referred to in the first verse of the song, where there are lions at the door, but they weren’t threatening – it was a kind of peaceful thing. It reflected a previous dream that was a real nightmare where the lions were threatening.”Bruce Cockburn (55)

Mighty Trucks Of Midnight

“The image came from home, “mighty trucks of midnight,” because where I live is a junction of a couple of highways and there’s a truckstop right there and there’s a lot of big rigs going back and forth. Huge machines at night with lights on them. The song reflects the downturn in the economic scene around home where, partly as a result of the freetrade deal between Canada and the US, all these little single industry towns started to lose their industry. All of a sudden there are whole towns of people with no work. So that was kind of where the song jumped out of and then it moved onto reflections of more spiritual things and the need to move on whether you wanted to or not.”Bruce Cockburn (55)