SONGS:
-- Radium Rain --
8 May 1986. Cologne.


Found on:

Big Circumstance (1988)
Lyrics:

They're hosing down trucks at the border under a rainbow sign --
The raindrops falling on my head burn into my mind
On a hillside in the distance there's a patch of green sunshine
Ain't it a shame
Ain't it a shame
About the radium rain

Everyday in the paper you can watch the numbers rise
No such event can over take us here, we're much too wise
In the meantime don't eat anything that grows and don't breathe when the cars go by
Ain't it a shame
Ain't it a shame
About the radium rain

Big motorcycle rumbles out of the rain like some creation of mist
There's a man on a roof with a blindfold on and a hand grenade in his fist
I walk stiff, with teeth clenched tight, filled with nostalgia for a clean wind's kiss
Ain't it a shame
Ain't it a shame
About the radium rain

A flock of birds writes something on the sky in a language I can't understand
God's graffiti -- but it don't say why so much evil seems to land on man
When everyone I meet just wants to live and love, and get along as best they can
Ain't it a shame
Ain't it a shame
About the radium rain



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

  • 1990 - "Radium Rain, for instance, came out of, uh, my own experience of the aftermath of Chernobyl, in Germany. I'd gotten, I arrived in Germany three days after Chernobyl happened. I had wrestled with myself to some degree before I left, thinking "Oh, I don't know. I wonder about going to Europe at this moment." But it seemed like it wouldn't matter where you were anyway, that stuff's gonna come down on you sooner or later so I might as well go and see what it looked like. And I did and it was very interesting experience, and, uh, quite frightening in some respects and funny in others. The extremes that people went to. The extremes that governments went to to try to sort of suppress peoples anxiety about the whole thing and it became ridiculous at a certain point, you know. At first they're saying, and I'm sure it was true of all the governments involved, they were saying Oh, there's no problem, you know, those stupid Russians just made a mistake, but we've got it together, don't worry about it". And, you know, the next day they'd be saying "Well there's a little bit of a problem, don't let you kids play in the dirt", you know. And the next, the next day, or week later they'd be saying "Well, you know, if you're a mechanic, you should avoid changing the air filters of cars, unless you're wearing protective clothing, and, you know, if you're a pedestrian, hold your breath when cars go by, cuz of the dust", you know. And I mean it's absurd. How can you possibly not breath when the cars are going by on the street? And it just went from the horrific to the ridiculous." - from "Interview and Segments" a CD released in 1990 by True North/Epic. Anonymous submission.


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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.