5 March 2001 – At the 30th Annual Juno Awards ceremony (the Canadian equivalent of the Grammys), Bruce Cockburn was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
The Toronto Sun’s Jane Stevenson reported on March 3rd that Cockburn said,
“It seemed like you’re supposed to be dead or something to be in the Hall Of Fame — and I didn’t feel that dead. It kind of took me aback slightly — it’s a great honour at the same time, so the feelings were mixed. I was slightly uncomfortable because of that but I’ve kind of gotten over that now. It’s just a nice thing.”
The Toronto Star, also on March 3rd, listed some of the many honours Cockburn has received before, including 10 Juno awards; 20 gold and platinum album awards; an honorary music doctorate from his alma mater, the Berklee College of Music; doctorates in letters from Toronto’s York University and Nova Scotia’s St. Thomas University; Billboard International’s lifetime achievement award; Canadian and international songwriting awards; a Toronto Arts Award and a Governor- General’s Performing Arts Award.
Cockburn told the Star:
I’ve had time to reflect on the Hall of Fame thing, time to get over my fear of taxidermy. That was a very big part of my initial response. Some of my fellow inductees are still alive, some aren’t. Some are active, some aren’t. Some are doing living things, others are repeating what they’ve already done. That’s the category I don’t want to find myself in.
It’s a compliment, of course, a great honour,” he says. A lot of people take this stuff really seriously and put great stock in it, and good for them. They’re saying something really nice to me and about me by inducting me, and that’s great, I appreciate it. But I’ll never stop what I’m doing. I’m concerned about age as a human being facing certain prospects, though I’m not yet aching in the places where I used to play, as Leonard (Cohen) says. But, as an artist, I’m not concerned. If age means shutting down, closing the heart, relying on past habits to get you through, it’ll be a problem for any kind of creative work. So far that hasn’t been the case. I feel as if I’m learning at the same rate as I always have, but I’m more aware of it now, and able to appreciate it more.
My models for graceful aging are guys like John Lee Hooker and Mississippi John Hurt, who never stop working till they drop. Eventually time is going to get everyone, but in the meantime, they stay out there, doing their thing – out of necessity, to a degree, as I fully expect to be doing – and just getting better as musicians and as human beings. You don’t have to stop maturing just because you become mature.
Cockburn’s induction to the Hall Of Fame was presented by David Suzuki and Gordon Lightfoot.
In accepting the award, Cockburn said: