-- Fascist Architecture --
5 May 1980. Denver, Colorado.

Found on:

Humans (1980)

Waiting For A Miracle, Singles 1970-1987 (1987) [compilation album]

You Pay Your Money And
You Take Your Chance

(1997) [live album]

Rumours of Glory - box set Disc 3 (2014) [compilation album]

Fascist architecture of my own design
Too long been keeping my love confined
You tore me out of myself alive

Those fingers drawing out blood like sweat
While the magnificent facades crumble and burn
The billion facets of brilliant love
The billion facets of freedom turning in the light

Bloody nose and burning eyes
Raised in laughter to the skies
I've been in trouble but I'm ok
Been through the wringer but I'm ok
Walls are falling and I'm ok
Under the mercy and I'm ok

Gonna tell my old lady
Gonna tell my little girl
There isn't anything in the world
That can lock up my love again

Known comments by Bruce Cockburn about this song, by date:

  • 1990

    "Part of Mussolini's legacy to Italy is the style of architecture referred to here. Bombastic, exaggeratedly heroic, it mocks the humanity it purports to glorify. It is overpowering, cold and makes you think of the baby sacrificing scenes in biblical movies. Sometimes we build structures like this in our own minds..."
    - from "Rumours of Glory 1980-1990" (songbook), edited by Arthur McGregor, OFC Publications, Ottawa, 1990. Submitted by Rob Caldwell.

  • 1994

    "That was when my marriage broke up. And that fact broke a lot of things in me. The image 'fascist architecture' came from Italy. It was stuff that was built during Mussolini's period that was a particular style where the buildings are really larger that life and what is supposed to celebrate the greatness of humanity actually dwarfs humanity. And it makes you fell tiny and helpless next to it. And everybody hates this stuff. It seemed to me a suitable image for the things in ourselves, the structures we build that are built on false expectations or pretenses. The things we pretend to ourselves. And then when some catastrophe comes your way, like a marriage breaking up or some other thing, those things crack and you get glimpses through them, the light comes through them. It's not a comfortable thing."
    - from "Closer to the Light with Bruce Cockburn" by Paul Zollo, SongTalk, vol.4, issue 2, 1994. Submitted by Rob Caldwell.

  • 15 January 2002

    Fascist Architecture is one of my all time favourite songs. Could you share what events, thoughts, feelings inspired you to write it?

    Bruce Cockburn: The title image comes from Italy, from an early trip there in the late 70s when I was introduced to the concept of fascist architecture. Mussolini had tried to build these huge structures but what they really do is dwarf you, that was a metaphor for the structures we build within ourselves. At the time I wrote it, my then marriage was in it's final stages. So there is that personal side but the main point was just the idea of just being broken open by an intervention I guess.
    - from Canoe Online Chat with Bruce Cockburn, 15 January 2002. Submitted by Suzanne D. Myers.

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    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.