If you're not ready to give your heart, you can always try to loan it out.
Jackson Browne claims that he made up the story about a guy who is flummoxed in love and not ready to commit, but admits that there are parallels with his personal life. Browne had been dating an Australian model named Lynne Sweeney off and on since they met in 1977. By 1980 when he recorded the Hold Out album, he was at a crossroads in the relationship and wondering if he should marry her (he did - they were married from 1981-1983).
In a 1997 Mojo interview, Browne explained: "This is about not being able to pay up, stealing someone else's heart and not being able to go on with the theft – not knowing the complete cost, and wanting to call it a loan until you grow enough to pay for it."
Most of Browne's songs are solo compositions, but he wrote this one with David Lindley, who played guitar on the album and came up with the guitar melody. Lindley was one of the backing musicians who crafted the singer-songwriter sound coming out of southern California in the '70s. He also played on albums by Linda Ronstadt, Graham Nash and Warren Zevon.