SONGS:
-- Tokyo --
15 September 1979. Tokyo.


Found on:

Humans (1980)

Rumours of Glory (1985) [compilation album]

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

Anything Anytime Anywhere, Singles 1979-2002 (2002) [compilation album]
Lyrics:

They're getting prepared to haul a car out of the river
Noise and smoke and concrete seem to be going on forever
Grinding gears and drivers getting high on exhaust
I'm thinking about the water down below and what got lost

Pachinko jingle and space torpedo beams
Comic book violence and escaping steam
Grey suited business men pissing against the wall --
Cut to crumbling guardrail, slow motions car fall

Oh Tokyo -- I never can sleep in your arms
Mind keeps on ringing like a fire alarm
Me and all these other dice bouncing around in the cup
Did you have to show me that accident scene
Didn't I get enough shaking up?
Still I'm gonna miss you...

Dragon of good fortune struggles with trickster fox
Energy and patience and the power of the buck
Tonight I'm flying headlong
To meet the dark red edge of dawn
I know somebody will be crying
And somebody will be gone

Oh Tokyo -- I never can sleep in your arms
Mind keeps on ringing like a fire alarm
Me and all these other dice bouncing around in the cup
Did you have to show me that accident scene
Didn't I get enough shaking up?
Still I'm gonna miss you...




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

  • 1980

    "The song Tokyo is no attempt at giving a fair or objective portrait of that city. But it does describe some things that I saw and felt. And I find in a place like Japan I get particularly sensitized to other people; because you are so dependent on them. When we go to Japan we are illiterate. You can't read a street sign, you can't read subway directions or anything. The Japanese, of course, are extremely hospitable also so they kind of encourage that feeling of dependency and because of that my emotions were always right on the surface...any emotion that dealt with people. And so when we passed by this accident scene it was particularly shocking."

    - from the RCA "Special Radio Series" LP, Volume Two (1980). Submitted by: Steve Brace.


  • 1990

    "Wrote these words on the plane home from the second tour of Japan. I wanted the guitar part to sound like The Cars."

    - from "Rumours of Glory 1980-1990" (songbook), edited by Arthur McGregor, OFC Publications, Ottawa, 1990. Submitted by Rob Caldwell.


  • 3 April 1992

    [Of the time when Humans was being composed, Cockburn noted,]

    "There's a certain style of song that started to show up, and became more typical of my songwriting through that period [Humans] , which is a kind of documentary-style thing, structured like a little movie. 'Tokyo' is like that - it was one of the earliest ones - where you try and set up these little scenes that relate to each other but where you don't have to explain the relationship but there's an impression that's created out of it that adds up to something."

    - from "Bruce Cockburn - A Burning Light and All the Rest" by William Ruhlmann, Goldmine magazine, 3 April 1992. Submitted by M. Goddard.


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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.