Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Jackson Browne (born October 9, 1948) is an influential American singer-songwriter. He was born in Heidelberg, Germany, but moved to Los Angeles, California at an early age and began singing folk music locally. In 1966, his career began by joining the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
A precociously talented songwriter, Browne signed a publishing contract with Nina Music , and his songs were performed by Tom Rush , the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, the Byrds and Steve Noonan , among others.
After moving to Greenwich Village, New York, Browne worked, for a brief period, in Tim Buckley's back-up band and on Nico's Chelsea Girl. After leaving New York City, Browne formed a folk band with Ned Doheney and Jack Wilce .
In 1971, Browne signed with Asylum Records and released Jackson Browne (1972), which included "Doctor My Eyes", a major hit. He didn't sustain pop success, though, and his next album, For Everyman (1973) while considered of high quality was a commercial failure.
Late for the Sky (1974) established a significant audience for Browne, and fans and critics often consider this Browne's best album. Highlights include the searching title song, the elegiac "For a Dancer" and apocalyptic "Before the Deluge", the pure arrangements featuring David Lindley's evocative violin and guitar playing, and the Magritte-inspired cover.
Browne released his breakthrough album, The Pretender (1976) soon after the suicide of his wife, Phyllis. Featuring livelier production by Jon Landau , the title song is Browne's magnum opus, a vividly described account of romanticism in a possibly losing battle with the realities of day-to-day life.
Browne began recording his next LP while on tour, and Running on Empty (1978) was an even bigger success. Breaking the usual conventions for a live album, it was truly made on the road, including tracks recorded on buses and in hotel rooms, with none of the songs having appeared on any of his prior albums. Running on Empty contains many renowned songs, such as the propulsive title track (Browne's biggest hit single), "The Road", "Rosie", and "The Load-Out/Stay" (Browne's affectionate and knowing send-off to his concert audiences).
In 1979, Browne was a founding member of Musicians United for Safe Energy.
Browne achieved less critical acclaim with Hold Out (1980), although it was commercially successful, as was his hit single "Somebody's Baby" from the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack. Lawyers in Love followed in 1983 and contained hints of a more political focus, especially in the mysteriously satirical title track.
Political protest came out full force in Lives in the Balance (1986), an overt condemnation of Reaganism and American policy in Central America. Flavored with new instrumental textures, it was a huge success with Browne fans, though not with mainstream audiences. World in Motion (1989) was even more politically-oriented and polarizing. After four years of silence and a break-up with his girlfriend, actress Daryl Hannah, Browne returned with I'm Alive, a critically acclaimed album with a more personal perspective that had no hits but still sold respectably. Looking East (1996) was released soon after, but was not as successful critically or commercially. His most current work, The Naked Ride Home was released in 2002.
As a whole, Browne's work is marked by compelling melodies, simple, honest, and insightful lyrics, and a flair for composition rarely seen in the world of rock and roll. He is often referred to as "a thinking man's rock star."
Browne was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. He also participated in the Vote for Change tour in October 2004, playing a series of concerts in American swing states. These concerts were organized by MoveOn.org with the general goal of mobilizing people to vote for John Kerry and against George W. Bush in that year's Presidential campaign. Browne's appearances were joint performances with Bonnie Raitt and Keb' Mo', and in one instance with Bruce Springsteen.
- 1972 Jackson Browne aka Saturate Before Using
- 1973 For Everyman
- 1974 Late for the Sky
- 1976 The Pretender
- 1978 Running on Empty
- 1980 Hold Out
- 1983 Lawyers in Love
- 1986 Lives in the Balance
- 1989 World in Motion
- 1993 I'm Alive
- 1994 Everywhere I Go
- 1996 Looking East
- 1997 (compilation)
- 2002 The Naked Ride Home
- 2004 Very Best of Jackson Browne (compilation)
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