Biography of Jackson Browne


A little bit something about Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne is an American folk and country singer-songwriter who has seen prominence and commercial success during the 1970s. During his teens he took up singing folk music, and sometime in the mid-1960s Browne left California for New York. He settled in Greenwich Village – the artist and bohemian hub. He joined the Nitty Gritty Band, which he stayed only a few months before launching a solo career.

In 1972 Browne released his self-titled debut album (also known as Saturate Before Using) which contained the Top 10 pop single “Doctor In My Eyes”. Browne then released equally successful follow-ups, with many of them hitting platinum:For Everyman, Late For The Sky, The Pretender, Hold Out (his only #1 album on the Billboard 200), Lawyers In Love, Lives In The Balance, and I’m Alive. His live album, Running On Empty is his best-selling album to date, reaching multi-platinum status; it contains the title track which was also ranked on the Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Songs list. He also penned the Eagles’ hit single “Take It Easy” in 1972. Browne was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2004 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2007.

Early life and career

Clyde Jackson Browne was born on October 9, 1948 in Heidelberg, Germany. His father was an American serviceman who was stationed in that country at the time he was born.

Jackson Browne and his family moved to Los Angeles when he was three years old. As he was growing up, he developed an interest in folk music and soon began playing and writing songs and played in local clubs. He moved to New York City during the mid-1960s. It was around that time that Browne joined the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band who recorded a number of Browne’s songs including “These Days,” “Holding,” and “Shadow Dream Song.” He then worked for Elektra Records’ division Nina Music as publisher. His compositions later appeared on albums of other artists such as Tom Rush and Steve Noonan. He had also worked for German chanteuse Nico and produced her Chelsea Girl album (he had also been romantically involved with her for a short time).

He then returned to Los Angeles in 1968 where he continued to play for the local folk circuit. By then his songs began to be recorded by other artists such as The Byrds and Linda Ronstadt. His reputation as a skilled singer and songwriter began to grow. By the end of 1971, he signed a deal with a new label Asylum Records (which was owned by David Geffen).

Rise as a cult figure

The following year Browne released his eponymous debut album (which is also known as Saturate Before Using). It featured his first Top 10 hit “Doctor My Eyes” which reached #8 on the Hot 100. Around that time the Eagles song “Take It Easy,” which he co-wrote with the Eagles’ Glenn Frey, became the band’s breakthrough hit, reaching at #12 on both the pop and adult contemporary singles charts. The album itself would eventually reach platinum status.

Since his debut album, Browne established himself as somewhat of a cult figure, despite his Top 10 hit. He released his second album For Everyman which wasn’t as successful as his first LP; nevertheless, it still helped to expand his audience.

Browne released his third album Late for the Sky (1974) which even solidified his cult status further. In 1976, when his first wife Phyllis Major committed suicide; in grief, he went on to write a song called “Here Come Those Tears Again” with his wife’s mother Nancy Famsworth. It went to #23 on the Hot 100 in 1977. Its albumThe Pretender, was released that year, and was Browne’s breakthrough album, selling three million copies.

Browne followed this up with a live album Running on Empty in 1977. This was far more successful than its predecessor, with its title track going to #11 on the Hot 100, and became one of his best-known songs. The album’s structure was unusual, as it was recorded not only on Browne’s live concerts, but in any other unlikely locations like tour buses and hotel rooms. Running on Empty sold seven million copies, making it Browne’s biggest-selling recording at that stage of his career.

In 1980, Browne released his fifth LP Hold Out, which yielded two Top 40 hits with “Boulevard” (at #19) and “That Girl Could Sing” (at #22). The album went double platinum and further solidified his popularity. Although it didn’t sell as well as The Pretender, Hold Out did go to #1, Browne’s only chart-topping album yet ever.

Browne’s self-penned song “Somebody’s Baby” was included in the Fast Time At Ridgemont High soundtrack. It went to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Browne’s later songs disclosed his social activism, and his next albums Lawyers in Love (1983) and Lives in the Balance showed Browne’s protest against the Reagan administration (he is in fact a liberal Democrat). This approach earned Browne mixed reviews from critics, but gained him a new audience. Lawyers in Love earned a platinum status while Lives in the Balance went gold.

Browne released another album World in Motion in 1989 which continued his political-themed songwriting. It was the first album of his that didn’t earn any certification. After that, he didn’t release any material and for the next three years he became involved in socio-political causes. In 1992, he was also reeling from a rough breakup with his girlfriend, actress Daryl Hannah. The following year Browne surfaced with a new album I’m Alive, which composed mostly of personal songs. I’m Alive went to #40 on the Billboard 200 and went gold despite not producing any major hits.

Browne then released his last three studio albums: Looking East (at #36 on the Billboard 200; 1996), The Naked Ride Home (at #36; 2002), and Time the Conqueror (at #20; 2008). Browne still continues to devote himself to his social and political causes, also having endorsed President Barack Obama. In 2010, he released his latest album, a live recording Love Is Strange: En Vivo Con Tino, along with David Lindley.

Browne was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2007.

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