Jackson Browne is probably more famous through his songs sung by others than for his own artistic achievements. He is also known for his activism against political injustice, and against nuclear weapons, co-founding Musicians United for Safe Energy. Today, October 9th, he is 65 years old.
His career started in 1970, where he was part of the same musical group as Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. But while the other two became super stars, Jackson Browne got a good following, but didn’t reach up to the popularity of Mitchell and Browne. His songs were still recorded by many other artists, from the Nitty Gritty Band, through Nico, Linda Ronstadt, The Birds to his collaberation with Glenn Frey from the Eagles on Take It Easy.
Take It Easy became the Eagles’ breakthrough song, but it wasn’t until The Pretender in 1976 and the follow up Running On Empty the year after that he got the commercial success he deserved. His next album, Hold Out from 1980, was his only number one-album, and two years after he scored his highest success with the song Somebody’s Baby.
At this time Jackson Browne had started his political work, protesting against nuclear power. One of the effects of this was that he lost some of his more conservative fans, but he strengthened his cult following and also his position in Europe where politcal leftism and activism is more accepted than in the USA.
Jackson Browne has continued to release albums and to write songs up until today, and three years ago he visited Norway, playing the Norwegian Wood festival in Oslo. His side kick for the last 40 years, David Lindley, was with him on stage, and it was a great concert, with a mix of his old classics and newer songs from among them his 2010 album Love is Strange.
All pictures are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.
I beg to differ about his commercial success being less than Joni Mitchell. I can’t think of a song of hers being played on the radio today. Whereas Jackson’s music is played daily.
Hi Ellen. You might be right, and I wasn’t clear that I was talking about Europe instead of the USA. My point is that he deserves much more recognition than he has got, and here in Norway, and probably also in the rest of Europe, too few know about him compared to in the USA. Here he gained fans and we got to know and like him even better because of his political stands, while he lost fans in the USA. Go figure!
I’ve loved him sometimes in spite of his political views and recently I’ve love him because of his political views. The older I get the more I agree politically. Regardless, his music starting with my first real examination of it in ’75 (Ready or Not got me hooked) is timeless and so personal for me it’s better than his CA counterparts. This is not to say I don’t like all of the rest of them but he stands alone in heart. I can’t do without him that’s all.