Linda Paloma

Album: The Pretender (1976)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Jackson Browne goes Mariachi on "Linda Paloma," a song he describes as "California Mexican."

    The song was inspired by the Mariachi band at a Mexican restaurant he often went to with his girlfriend in the '80s. Browne later learned that one of the musicians would blow kisses at his girl without him knowing. He turned it into a song about a guy who years for a girl who loves another man.
  • Linda Paloma sounds like a girl's name, but it's a Spanish phrase meaning "pretty dove." So in the song, the singer doesn't know her name but knows he want her to leave her man. "Fly away, linda paloma," he tells her.
  • The main instruments are vihuela guitar and guitarrón, which are common in Mariachi bands. Luis Damian played the vihuela and Roberto Gutierrez the guitarrón. Gutierrez also added violin, and Arthur Gerst played the harp. All three helped with the whoops and hollers that add to the Mariachi feel.

    Van Dyke Parks, known for his arrangements with the Beach Boys, helped find these musicians. In the liner notes to the album, Browne wrote: "Milliones de gracias a Van Dyke Parks.
  • This song is an outlier on The Pretender album, and in Browne's entire catalog, for that matter. It's a lighthearted, clearly fictionalized song with characters that aren't based on real people close to Browne. Most of the album runs a lot deeper, with Browne trying to make sense of his life and his place in the world.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Tony Banks of Genesis

Tony Banks of GenesisSongwriter Interviews

Genesis' key-man re-examines his solo career and the early days of music video.

Millie Jackson

Millie JacksonSongwriter Interviews

Outrageously gifted and just plain outrageous, Millie is an R&B and Rap innovator.

Steve Cropper (Booker T & the MG's, Blues Brothers)

Steve Cropper (Booker T & the MG's, Blues Brothers)Songwriter Interviews

Steve Cropper on the making of "In the Midnight Hour," the chicken-wire scene in The Blues Brothers, and his 2021 album, Fire It Up.

Richard Butler of The Psychedelic Furs

Richard Butler of The Psychedelic FursSongwriter Interviews

Psychedelic Furs lead singer Richard Butler talks about their first album since 1991 and explains what's really going on in "Pretty In Pink."

Bass Player Scott Edwards

Bass Player Scott EdwardsSong Writing

Scott was Stevie Wonder's bass player before becoming a top session player. Hits he played on include "I Will Survive," "Being With You" and "Sara Smile."

Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear: Teddy Bears and Teddy Boys in Songs

Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear: Teddy Bears and Teddy Boys in SongsSong Writing

Elvis, Little Richard and Cheryl Cole have all sung about Teddy Bears, but there is also a terrifying Teddy song from 1932 and a touching trucker Teddy tune from 1976.