-- Great Big Love --
6 August 1990. Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, Canada.

Found on:

Nothing But A Burning Light (1991)

Rumours of Glory - box set Disc 5 (2014) [compilation album]

Evening sun slants across the road
Painting everything with gold
I'm headed for home, got a woman there
I can barely wait to hold
Got wind in my hair, got the heat inside
Heart jumping up and down
An empty head and a messed-up bed
I'll be floating just above the ground

Great big love
Sweeping across the sky

Seen a lot of things in the world outside
Some bad but some good stuff too
Felt the touch of love in the works of God
And now and then in what people do
Never had a lot of faith in human beings
But sometimes we manage to shine
Like a light on a hill beaming out to space
From somewhere hard to find

Great big love
Sweeping across the sky

I ride and I shoot and I play guitar
And I like my life just fine
If you try to take one of these things from me
Then you're no friend of mine
Got a woman I love and she loves me
And we live on a piece of land
I never know quite how to measure these things
But I guess I'm a happy man

Great big love
Sweeping across the sky

Bruce Cockburn - Electric & Acoustic Guitars and Vocals
T-Bone Burnett - Electric Guitar
Larry Klein - Bass
Denny Frongheiser - Drums
Micahel Blair, Ralph Forbes - Percussion
Sam Phillips, Jackson Browne - Backing Vocals

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

  • Circa 1992 -

    Johnny Walker: The next song we're going to play, "Great Big Love", you sort of seem to say, "Well, I've got lots of things I should be pleased about. I guess I'm a happy man."

    BC: Well, basically, people used to ask me, when I was getting known for songs like "If I Had A Rocket Launcher", for the politically engaged kinds of songs, it seemed as though people, a certain type of person anyway, seemed to think that in order to write songs like that, you had to be depressed, or that you had to be a basically unhappy person looking for some sort of outlet for this, you know. People used to ask me, "Are you a happy man?" when I was writing those kinds of things. How can you answer that, you know? "I'm not happy you just asked me that question because I don't know how to answer it, but otherwise, I'm doing fine, thankyou."

    JW: Well, you and I were born in the same year, 1945, so we've had seven years of being in our forty's, and I think one of the things that bought me anyway is that you relax a bit more, and you're quite a bit more content with the way things are at.

    BC: Yeah, that certainly happens. Well, content? I think I would tend to describe that as a sense of perspective that kind of allows you to be…, to get worked up over the things you can actually do something about, and to not bother with the things you can't, you know. At least, not be so affected by them. Because I don't feel entirely content. I'm a restless person by nature and I've been involved, on and off, with things that don't go away, really.

    JW: There's lots of work ahead.

    BC: There's lots of work ahead and there's a lot of vivid images from the past that won't go away either. Some of them are not so nice, so that's kind of a good stimulus, a healthy stimulus, I think, in a way. It keeps you from getting complacent.

    JW: But there's been one or two happy moments too.

    BC: Oh yes.
    -- from Radio Interview, BBC Radio 1, 1992, Interviewer is Johnny Walker. Transcribed and submitted by David Newton.

  • November/December 1999 -

    "...the ninties have had a lot less of that kind of travel and a lot more touring and work [laughs]. And involvement in other things. I lived on a horse farm for seven years, and that was a different experience for me. Great Big Love, for instance, is a product of that atmosphere."
    -- from "Fire in an Open Hand" by Susan Adams Kauffman, The Other Side magazine, November/December 1999. Submitted by Nigel Parry.

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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.