1998 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Popular Music)
"Cockburnesque" - a musical style now recognized around the world. Original, poetic, with powerful lyrics matched to magnificent guitar musicianship, it flows from a man "moved and inspired by life with a desire to translate that into music." It's also, according to his managers, "an unbeatable package" which soars far above the commercial music world where he enjoys unparalleled success.
Bruce Cockburn was one of the first Canadian artists to build an international career while remaining firmly planted in Canada. As he and his music began to travel seriously abroad, what he learned of the world refined his ideas, already shaped by the humanity that motivates both his music and his work with OXFAM and numerous other political causes. It is perhaps best exemplified by his long-term commitment to Canada's Unitarian Service Committee, to which he offered his support long before he became known and which he continues to help to this day.
"Art, particularly songs, deals with little fistfuls of feeling," he says. Witness the evocative All the Diamonds; his first international hit, Wondering Where the Lions Are; or some of his most impassioned pieces, If I Had a Rocket Launcher - written after a searing trip to Central America- or Call It Democracy, certainly the only critical song ever written about the International Monetary Fund.
The evolution of Cockburn's music traces his own personal growth into what is now a Christian-centred spirituality. No preacher, he seeks rather to connect and to share. His ever-expanding success on the world stage, particularly now in the U.S., testifies to the truth of his songs.
Eighteen gold and platinum discs, ten Junos, two honorary degrees and Member of the Order of Canada are among his many accolades.