Linda Paloma

Album: The Pretender (1976)
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  • 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.


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