"Bruce Cockburn: Pacing the Cage" - Various Artists

Documentary / Video Release

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Background Information

This was a documentary style film about Bruce Cockburn, a famous Canadian singer, song writer and social activist. The documentary first aired on May 4, 2012 on Vision TV in Canada, and a DVD release followed on June 18, 2013.

The documentary opens with Bono sitting facing the camera, wearing his green hat from his PopMart days. He starts to recite the lyrics for “If I Had a Rocket Launcher”, one of Cockburn’s most well known songs. After the first verse he stops, and does a short introduction about Cockburn, stating if he had a rocket launcher, Cockburn would not have needed to write the song.

Bono has previously recorded a full version of the song in January 1989, along with other cover songs, planned for release on the b-sides of singles for Rattle and Hum. That session was the one where “Unchained Melody,” “Dancing Barefoot,” and “Everlasting Love” were recorded. The version of “If I Had a Rocket Launcher” would have been used as a b-side had “God Part II” been released as a single. “God Part II” contains a quote in the lyrics from another Cockburn song, “Lovers in a Dangerous Time”. The U2 cover of “If I Had a Rocket Launcher” has never been released.

The video with Bono is just short of a minute in length. The rest of the documentary contains no further appearances by Bono.

From the press release about the documentary:

Bruce Cockburn, Pacing the Cage is a documentary that features Canadian icon/singer/songwriter/activist, Bruce Cockburn reflecting on his life and his career. The documentary follows Bruce as he performs in sold out shows, records his live Slice O’ Life CD, and participates in a series of benefit concerts. Documentary cameras also follow Bruce to his home for a candid conversation about his views on everything from religion to parenthood. The documentary will shed new light on Bruce’s spirituality, and his thoughts on activism, politics, writing, and his amazing 40 plus years in the music industry. Also featured are never before seen live performances of songs from his 40 year plus catalogue of music.

The documentary features appearances by: Bruce’s long time manager Bernie Finkelstein, Colin Linden, Michael Ondaatje, Sarah Harmer, Lt. Gen Romeo Dallaire, Sylvia Tyson, Bono, Jackson Browne, Theology Professor Brian J. Walsh, Best-Selling Author William Young, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and The Wailin’ Jennys.

Bruce Cockburn, Pacing the Cage was produced by BB&J Productions for VisionTV. The documentary was written and directed by Joel Goldberg and produced by Joel Goldberg and Bernie Finkelstein.

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