Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Terry, Bono, T Bone and Bruce: the power of introduction

Terry Mattingly one tipped Bono off  a young singer named Bono to  a (necessarily) short list of recording artists who were Christians (not Christian  recording artists) whose music was not Christianese or cheesy;

artists of honest and thoughtful faith and art that journalist Mattingly was pretty sure Bono would appreciate.

To say he was right is an understatement.

T-Bone Burnett and Bruce Cockburn were of course on the list (if not the whole list).

It is well-known that Bono not only soon after searched out Burnett's music,  but Burnett himself.
Who knows the depth of the stories  behind the  note of thanks Bono once included in U2 liner notes, thanking Burnett "for the truth in the dark."  The two  even wrote together, including a purplehearted song with some of Bono's best lyrics... and non-lyrics/wordless prayerwails. The  relationship survives to this day.

But how much Bono and  Cockburn have connected over the years is  not as well-known.

Most readers will remember that Cockburn is namechecked...well, without the name; as 'the singer on the radio'... in  the lyric of U2's "God Part II."

And U2 has made no secret of being profoundly influenced by Cockburn's "Rocket Launcher,"
a video of which I recorded in Fresno appears below:

The  Canadian documentary about their native son, Bruce Cockburn, Pacing the Cage opens with the following  scene
(Does anyone have video link to this?):

Bono facing the camera and quietly [quoting "Rocket Launcher'],  

    “Here comes the helicopter - second time today  

   Everybody scatters and hopes it goes away. 

    How many kids they've murdered, only God can say.

     If I had a rocket launcher...I'd make somebody pay."

Closing his sequence, Bono adds jealously,

“If I had a rocket launcher, he wouldn’t have written those songs!”  (link)

Tony Campolo, who has several  stories on Bono, and once told me a salty one,
recounts that while at Greenbelt (the UK alternative Christian festival), and in disguise , Bono even volunteered to direct traffic!

More of the story of Bono at Greenbelt  told on a new article by Darrel Walker
And why was Bono smuggled into Greenbelt?

Walker reveals that: To see, on Mattingly's recommendation, an amazing Godhaunted singer named:

 Bruce Cockburn.

Walker prods Cockburn to find just how much "Rocket Launcher" influened U2' "Bullet the Blue Sky".
The answer/non answer is cryptiic and intriguing.

But all this (a brief encounter when an American  journalist offered an Irish singer a mixtape that included a bit of a Candadian artist; a discussion between two in disguise..backstage about rockets and El Salvador and other everyday stuff ) stirs up six degrees of separation, and changes life direction.

Who told you about

  • U2?
  • Cockburn?
  • Burnett?

  • Jesus?

AND if you are just learning about one of the above for the first time:

You are welcome.

Other posts on Cockburn


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