In late 2009 Cockburn traveled to Kandahar, Afghanistan to visit his brother, Capt. John Cockburn, and to play a concert for the Canadian troops there. This instrumental came from something a soldier said to him while watching fighter jets take off in the night. "They would take off in pairs," Cockburn explained to Christianity Today, "and because they don't have streetlights at Kandahar Airfield, you just hear this incredible roar and a moment later all you could see was this cone of incandescent purple flame shooting across the sky, followed thirty seconds later by another one. Everybody stops to watch it. The soldier next to me turns and says, 'Comets of Kandahar.' I thought the image was so great it became the title of that piece."
George Harrison's 1971 song "Bangla Desh" was the first major charity single. It was part of a concert held to bring relief to the people of Bangladesh, who were fighting for independence and suffering from a famine.