-- Career: Record Companies --

Issues Index


This page archives comments by Bruce Cockburn on his career history with record companies.

  • 1981 -
    [Interviewer Stephen Holden]

    Bruce Cockburn was one of two LPs that were distributed in America under a worldwide deal with CBS.

    BC: CBS did no promotion for us. And they only picked up the option on my first and third [Sunwheel Dance] albums under the deal. What really turned us off was their refusal to distribute my fourth album, Night Vision, which was the most commercial thing I'd done to date.
    -- from "Bruce Cockburn's Quiet Optimism", High Fidelity, 1981, by Stephen Holden.

  • 3 April 1992 - On Island Records' release of In The Falling Dark, which opened up touring in the US

    At the end of 1976, Island Records became the second U.S. label to take up the cause of Bruce Cockburn, releasing his seventh album, In The Falling Dark. A typically evocative effort, the LP included Lord Of The Starfields, still perhaps Cockburn's most moving expression of faith. The association with Island led Cockburn to travel south for the first time in years (he had played at the Philadelphia Folk Festival in 1974).

    "It wasn't really until the latter part of the 70's that I started to seriously want to work outside of Canada," he said. "We did a little bit when In The Falling Dark came out on Island here, which was the next sort of big record. It was the first time we actually had a real release here, and it got sort of a good little buzz happening around it, but we were never able to parlay it into much more than that. But I did do some club work around the northeast United States." (The album became Cockburn's first to chart in the U.S., getting to #191, according to Cash Box magazine's listing.)
    -- from "Bruce Cockburn: A Burning Light and All the Rest," by William Ruhlmann, Goldmine, April 3, 1992, Krause Publications.

  • 7 September 1996 - On Cockburn's relationship with True North

    NY:........I wonder about your relationship with True North Records. Is that important to you that they're an independant company?

    BC: Yes, I think it is and I think that it's allowed me for the most part over these many years to maintain an arm's length relationship with the music industry as a whole. Which suits me. I mean I don't have the particular temperament or the organizational ability where I can just go out and sort of do everything myself. There's no doubt that getting too close to the business has the potential to impair you as an artist. Your head gets filled with too many considerations that don't really have anything to do with the art and I'm really glad that my situation has been what it's been.
    -- from "Definitely Not the Opera," with Nora Young, CBC Radio, September 7, 1996, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

  • January 1997 - Commenting on leaving Sony
    [interviewer is Paolo Caru]

    PC: Why did you leave Sony?

    BC: It was a mutual decision, with both of us ending the contract with the realization that leaving [Sony] was the best thing to do. I had completed work on The Charity of Night and they held off releasing it for months, leaving me in suspense for a long time. Eventually, we met and talked it over. If I depended only on North American sales, I would have stayed with them. However in the rest of the world, Sony did not do a very good job. My albums have been marginally successful in Europe and, in some countries, they aren't even publicized.

    PC: I thought that they took good care of you, especially reissuing most of you your catalog of older albums.

    BC: They reissued the back catalog mainly in America and they did a good job of promoting me there. Elsewhere, I remain an unknown. Ending the contract was a logical thing to do.
    -- from "BRUCE COCKBURN -- Night Visions" by Paolo Caru, Buscadero, No. 176, January 1997.

  • January 1997 - Commenting on signing with Rykodisc
    [interviewer is Paolo Caru]

    PC: Then you signed with Rykodisc...

    BC: Both Rykodisc and I are happy with the contract. They are a small company. I can speak with everyone there and there is good rapport between the artists and the executives. Additionally, they are people who love the music they distribute. And many of the people at Rykodisc are big fans of mine. They become immersed in their work and work closely with the artists during the preparation of the album. My experience working with Rykodisc is wholly new and fascinating.
    -- from "BRUCE COCKBURN -- Night Visions" by Paolo Caru, Buscadero, No. 176, January 1997.

  • September 1999 - Commenting on Ryko's representation in Europe

    "Through the '80s, we had a really nice momentum going in Europe, in Germany especially. Through the early '90s, though, Columbia did a great job in the U.S., but absolutely nothing elsewhere in the world, which was very disappointing for me. With Rykodisc, we're gaining more ground in Germany, Italy looks promising again, and I'm now off to the U.K. and Europe for some gigs and promotion stuff."
    -- from "Staying POWER" Story by Kerry Doole, Word and Music, September, 1999.

  • 7 July 2000 - Commenting on his recording contract (presumably with True North)

    "My (record) contract, such as it is, says I'm still supposed to do an album a year," Cockburn reveals.

    "But nobody expects that because I can't -- unless I don't tour."
    -- from "Bruce is Back\Cockburn to Close This Year's Folk Festival", by David Veitch, The Calgary Sun, July 7, 2000.

  • Help out! To add material to this section, see this page first.

    Issues Index

    This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.