The songwriter’s songwriter!
As a 16-year-old (in 1964), Jackson Browne wrote These Days. Three years later Nico released it under the guidance of Andy Warhol.
This led to Tom Rush and Greg Allman recording their versions during the early 70s, eventually leading Jackson to put it on his 2nd album.
By now, he was already an established artist as the self-titled debut album (1972) had done very well with the hit Doctor My Eyes, a tune that had members of Crosby Stills And Nash singing BV’s.
On that second album (Everyman, 1973) we find another, extremely well-known tune in Take It Easy. Written by Jackson and Glenn Frey, it’s not Jackson’s version that we all know but Glenn’s band, the Eagles which had this as their breakthrough single.
The biggest difference apart from the Eagles releasing their version first is that Jackson’s doesn’t have as intense BV’s.
The tune was so connected with The Eagles that when Jackson released his version it didn’t even chart.
His next two albums, Late for the Sky (1974) and The Pretender (1976) didn’t do as well, although The Pretender did sell 3 million copies. The title track wasn’t a hit, only charting at #58. Still, it has become one of his better-known tunes among fans.
His fifth album, Running On Empty (1977) would be his most successful, with the title track reaching #11. Decades later, this is his most streamed tune on Spotify.
Running On Empty was a live album, and his biggest hit was never released as a single recorded in the studio. Another great tune on this album is Stay, a Maurice Williams cover previously recorded successfully by the Hollies (1963, #8), and The Four Seasons (1964, #16). This tune is also featured as the original version in the film Dirty Dancing.
It may seem strange that a live album was so big but during this time of the ’70s, live albums were a big thing. Frampton Comes Alive (1976) and Thin Lizzy’s Live and Dangerous (1978) were also huge.
The follow-up, Hold Out (1980) would become his best charting album, climbing all the way to #1. No big tunes appeared on this album, it must have sold well on the back of Running On Empty’s success.
Before his next three albums, Jackson wrote Somebody’s Baby for the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High, it would become one of his most popular tunes.
The rest of the 80s would see another three albums, Lawyers In Love (1983), Lives in the Balance (1986), and World In Motion (1989) didn’t have any big tunes. Jackson Brown had peaked in the 70s.
The 90s and post-millennium have seen a further 6 studio albums. They all sound great, and the songwriting is very accomplished but no tunes have managed to connect with the general public in the same way as Running On Empty, Doctor My Eyes, and Take It Easy did.
Ask any established songwriter though and you’ll find they hold Jackson Browne in the highest possible regard, he really is the songwriter’s favorite songwriter.
Jackson Browne tunes | Related pages
Doctor My Eyes
You can learn how to play Doctor My Eyes by Jackson Browne using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, and the original recording.
| F | F |
Doctor, my eyes have seen the years…
Take It Easy
You can learn to play Take It Easy by Eagles/Jackson Browne using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, and the original recording.
| G | G |
Well, I’m a-running down the road tryin’ to loosen my load…