Jackson Browne

Essential Albums

  • I'm Alive
  • Hold Out
  • The Pretender

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About Jackson Browne

In the ‘70s California folk music scene, Jackson Browne loomed large, helping define the sound and spirit of the era—and the West Coast itself—with his intimate, insightful songwriting and rootsy sound. Born Clyde Jackson Browne in 1948 in West Germany, he was still a toddler when his parents headed to Los Angeles, and by the time he was a teen, he was writing songs and playing folk clubs in the city. Browne didn’t make waves as a solo act until his first, self-titled record in 1972, but for nearly a decade before its release, he proved himself as a wunderkind songwriter and musician, working with artists like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Tim Buckley, Nico, and Linda Ronstadt. Jackson Browne’s biggest song was “Doctor My Eyes,” an upbeat but world-weary, piano-driven tune. While not a huge success commercially, the album opened the floodgates on Browne’s defining decade. Songs like 1973’s country rocker “Take It Easy” (also a massive hit for the Eagles) and albums like 1977’s Running on Empty, a folk-rock opus that laid bare the trials of touring, showed the ways Browne could meld accessibility with perceptive lyrics. Taking into account his often politically charged ‘80s output and a return to his signature style of inward-looking songwriting in the ‘90s and well into the 21st century, Browne’s legacy is that of a true rock ‘n’ roll lifer.

Heidelberg, Germany
October 9, 1948

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