“The idea that I wrote something that stood for the way I feel about things, and that it lasts, that's probably my favorite thing that I've done.”
This award winning well known singer/songwriter has made a name for himself by writing hit songs according to his political belief and personal angst. Jackson Browne is one of the few artists out there that is not scared or ashamed to let the world know what he feels about even the most controversial issues.
Born Clyde Jackson Browne in Heidelberg, Germany in 1948, he was the second born of three children. Some years later, his parents had another daughter. When he turned three, they moved to Los Angeles. As a teenager, he began to sing folk music at local venues. In 1966, he graduated from the Sunny Hills High School and quickly joined the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
From there he became a successful songwriter. He signed a publishing contract with Nina Music. Once there, his songs ended up being performed by bands such as the Eagles, the Byrds and Tom Rush just to name a few. He found himself in New York in Tim Buckley’s backup band. While in New York, he found himself romantically linked with Nico from the Velvet Underground. He then added her to an album and played guitar on of one of his early songs that she had sung.
In 1971, Jackson Browne found himself signed with Asylum Records. Once there, he released his first album, Jackson Browne in 1972. On that album he found great success with his first single Doctor My Eyes, it became a top ten hit on the US singles chart. In addition to this song he was able to see success with three more singles.
The following year, he released another album entitled For Everyman was not as successful as his first album, but was of high quality. Late for the Sky was released a year later and was successful. One of the tracks made it to the movie Taxi Driver. It was at this time that he found himself mentoring Warren Zevon. He helped him with the first two Asylum albums as the producer.
In 1976, after his first wife committed suicide, he came out with his album The Pretender. It was at this time that he had begun to make a name for himself with his insightful and compelling songs. The following year, while on tour he came out with a live album, Running on Empty, this song was his biggest success commercially. From this album came one of his most well known songs, The Road.
During the spring of 1979, Jackson Browne got together with several other musicians to found the organization Musicians United for Safe Energy. He found success once again the following year with his album, Hold Out. He found more soundtrack success with the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High with Somebody’s Baby.
Political and Charity Work
In 1986, he showed his political side with Lives in the Balance. Though the main stream audience did not take to it, his loyal fans did. All throughout the 1980s, he found himself frequently performing at different benefit concerts for causes that he felt strongly about.
Jackson Browne took a four year break and came back with his album in 1993 entitled I’m Alive. While the album did not have any hit singles, it still sold well and was critically acclaimed. In 2002, he came out with The Naked Ride Home, this album included a performance from Austin City Limits.
In 2004, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His good friend, Bruce Springsteen presented Jackson Browne with the award and gave the induction speech. The following year, he released the album Solo Acoustic, Vol. 1. On the album, he released live recordings of some of his older work. In March of 2008, he released the second volume of his live album.
In the fall of 2008, he released his first studio album in six years. Time The Conqueror was entirely written by Jackson Browne with the exception of three songs that he co wrote with his long time band members. This album found him back on the charts, peaking at #20 on the Billboard 200. On the Billboard Independent Album chart, it went all the way to #2.
In 2008, he sued John McCain as well as the Ohio Republican party and the Republican National Committee. They used his hit Running on Empty as an attack ad against Barack Obama. Because it was without his permission, he won the suit.
Did you know that...
- ...he was arrested while protesting the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant near San Luis Obispo
- ...he performed in The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True to benefit the Children's Defense Fund
- ...he did voice work in 2003 on The Simpsons. He played himself and parodied his hit Rosie to fit the plot of the episode.
- ...Jackson Browne is part of the No Nukes group which is against the expansion of nuclear power