Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne Artistfacts

  • Oct. 9, 1948
  • Browne was born in Heidelberg, West Germany, where his father worked for the US Army publication Stars And Stripes. A few years after he was born, his family moved to Southern California.
  • Browne generally writes about personal matters, but became very sociopolitical in the 1980s. In later years, he returned to his old style.
  • He co-wrote the Eagles' first hit, "Take It Easy," which he started writing on a road trip that took him through Winslow, Arizona. He co-wrote two other Eagles songs as well: "Doolin-Dalton" and "James Dean."
  • In 1966, while he was still in high school, Browne joined the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, which was just getting started. He left to pursue a solo career a few months later, but two of his songs, "Holding" and "Melissa," ended up on the group's debut album in 1967.
  • He was instrumental in getting Warren Zevon's music heard. Zevon's career had stalled in 1975 as Browne's had taken off. To get him back on track, Jackson added a song Zevon wrote, "Werewolves Of London," to his setlists, and made a point to talk up Zevon when he played it. Browne's label, Asylum, signed Zevon and made Browne his producer. "Werewolves Of London" ended up on Zevon's second Asylum album, released in 1978.
  • In 1967, Browne found a job as a backing musician for Nico. After a brief affair, Nico recorded three of Browne's songs for her debut Chelsea Girl album.
  • Browne produced his first three solo albums himself before bringing in Jon Landau to produce his fourth, The Pretender, in 1976. His production talents, though, don't translate to the technical side, so he relied on skilled engineers to work the equipment. "I can't figure out how my phone works, much less a studio," he said.
  • Browne was part of the Laurel Canyon, California, music scene that included such talents as The Byrds, The Eagles, and Linda Ronstadt. He got along very well with most of his cohorts, but there was one lady of the Canyon he clashed with: Joni Mitchell. They toured together in 1972 and started dating that year. After their breakup, they had a frosty relationship. Michell implied that Browne abused women in her 1994 song "Not To Blame"; Browne fired back in the press, denying the implication and calling Mitchell "disturbed."
  • His first label deal with with Elektra, which signed him as a staff writer to their publishing division in 1967 when he was just 18. A year later, they gave him a recording contract, but his attempt to make an album failed and Browne was dropped from the label. In 1970 he signed with David Geffen's Asylum Records, which issued his debut album in early 1972. By this time, his songs had been recorded by Nico, the Byrds, and Linda Ronstadt.
  • Browne's first wife, Phyllis Major, died from suicide after taking an overdose of barbiturates in 1976. She had long struggled with mental health issues and fell into a deep postnatal depression after the birth of their son Ethan in 1973.
  • He started dating the actress Daryl Hannah around 1983, and they later moved in together. They broke up in the early '90s when she started seeing John Kennedy Jr. On September 23, 1992, Hannah came to collect belongings at the house they once shared, and an incident took place that led Browne to call the police. Hannah ended up at the hospital with bruises and a broken finger, and her publicist released a statement saying, "She received serious injuries incurred during a domestic dispute with Browne for which she sought medical treatment."

    The statement implied that Browne caused her injuries, but Hannah never pressed charges or accused him of hitting her. The police also didn't pursue the matter, and Browne insisted he didn't harm her. As for how she sustained the injuries, Browne refuses to provide details, insisting it's a private matter.
  • Browne has supported a number of progressive causes and candidates, and has been active in Amnesty International, Musicians United for Safe Energy, and the Christic Institute.
  • Jackson Browne keeps buying bass guitars, though he doesn't play the instrument. "I don't know what that's about," he told Mojo magazine. "I've got some really beautiful basses, lots of them, but don't play them. I don't know what I'm doing with them."
  • Browne had a cameo role as himself in the 2007 John C. Reilly comedy Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.

Comments: 10

  • Dennis from ColoradoThere is a guy that played more inst. and sang most of the harmony on these albums that never gets mentioned. So sad for someone as generous as Jackson.
  • Anonymous from Orange County, CaHeard Joan Baez sing Jackson’s work; loved it. Took me awhile to pick up his albums, but in the past three decades I’ve listened to every note on every album again and again. Never fail to be moved, provoked, delighted and grateful for this particular human being. Few are as fully developed.
    He’s still a prodigy to me, w/high EQ.
  • Zach from Columbus, OhioI used to write Jackson Brown off as a pretty boy, but after listening closely to his lyrics, I've really grown to appreciate him as a songwriter and musician.
  • Jorge from Bronx, NyHe's work always been played on classic rock stations,but I'd never followed,'Till a friend brought me a copy of Lives in the balance,Then i bought in cd,and loved the whole cd.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScHe probably didn't find out about the end of the cold war before the rest of us. Either he just knew it, or it was a pretty lucky guess. He's a really great songwriter though.
  • Chuck from Peoria, Ilas a teen was an early member of the nitty gritty dirt band
  • Alan from Singapore, SingaporeThe song "Take It Easy" was written by him. Glenn Frey of the Eagles contributed two lines to the song and Jackson told him that it was official: Glen Frey co-wrote this. Jackson Browne, along with Bob Seger, J.D.Souther had some helped to write some of the Eagles songs.
  • Peter from Montrose, DcHe is the most amazing songwriter I have ever heard. His lyrics are so real and connect with people so well.
  • Don from Pittsburgh, PaRecorded "Late for the Sky" in 1974. One of the most beautiful and sad albums I have ever heard. David Crosby, Gram Nash and Don Henley gave their musical talents to the album.
  • Mike from Berkeley, Ca"Lawyers in Love" was recorded before the Berlin wall came down, yet was kind of a prediction that it would happen: the end of the cold war. I don't know how he found out about it before all the rest of us. This amazes me to this very day.
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