I remember the first time I saw Bruce Cockburn perform live. It was at the Cotati Cabaret and it was in support for his album, Stealing Fire. It’s ironic because it was exactly at that time that my future second wife was his girlfriend. But the main thing I remember about the show was when Cockburn stopped everything and said, more or less, “A friend asked me to perform this song.” That song was “Yanqui Go Home.”
He was performing with a five piece band at that point — an indication that this was a major peak in his career, because I’ve seen him live at least a dozen times and he’s never performed with more than two people — and usually just alone. (Actually, I prefer him solo.) But “Yanqui Go Home” was a song that he did solo. It was not a song the band accompanied him on.
He said that he didn’t really want to do the song. It discusses America as a drunk friend who offends everyone and really needs to go home and sleep it off. But Cockburn, is nothing if not a gentleman. And he said it seemed rude to do the song in America. That’s so Canadian, though! I can’t imagine an American showing a similar level of concern.
I love this song. I think this is exactly what Canada and most of our other OECD countries think of us.
Happy Canada Day!