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Jackson Browne Doesn’t Take It Easy

There are a lot of parts to Jackson Browne’s life. At the start, he was writing songs that became hits for other people. People using his work included Bruce Springsteen, Nico, Gregg Allman, Joan Baez, the Byrds and many others. It’s important to note that many of the folks who sang his songs wrote great ones themselves — and would not accept anything but the best.

AllMusic’s Thomas Erlewine sums up Browne’s influence nicely at the beginning of his profile of Browne at AllMusic:

In many ways, Jackson Browne was the quintessential sensitive California singer/songwriter of the early ’70s. Only Joni Mitchell and James Taylor ranked alongside him in terms of influence, but neither artist tapped into the post-’60s Zeitgeist like Browne. While the majority of his classic ’70s work was unflinchingly personal, it nevertheless provided a touchstone for a generation of maturing baby boomers coming to terms with adulthood. Not only did his introspective, literate lyrics strike a nerve, but his laid-back folk-rock set the template for much of the music to come out of California during the ’70s.

The next part of Browne’s life is his performing career. He backed other performers and eventually joined The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. He only was in the group for a few months, but the band recorded several of his songs. He became a solo artist and sang new songs and those that he had written for others. (It’s safe to say that not too many people cover songs that they had written.)

The next important element of Jackson’s career is his activism. The section of his Wikipedia profile devoted to the causes he has backed, the benefits he has performed and the organizations in which he has participated is as long as the section about his music. If one issue stands out, it is his activism against nuclear energy.

Above is the “The Load Out/Stay” and below is “Your Bright Baby Blues.”

Wikipedia and AllMusic were used in this post. Homepage image: Brooklynnimage.

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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