Rock Me On The Water

Album: Jackson Browne (1972)
Charted: 48
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Songfacts®:

  • Jackson Browne uses biblical imagery in this song, where he makes a point that salvation can be attained outside the church.

    "It's got an apocalyptic theme running through it and it's meant to be kind of a gospel song," he said in a radio interview. "I employ this gospel language: 'stand before the father,' 'sisters of the sun.' But it's turning that around 180 degrees so it's not about religion, it's about society."

    "You have to have an idea in a gospel song," he added, "and if it's not going to be Jesus, it has to at least be salvation. It's a way of lovingly, and in a friendly way, refuting the traditional and conventional messages of redemption having to do with the straight and narrow. I staked a lot on that song because it was that combination of social awareness and paying attention to what's going on around you with that inner search for spiritual meaning."
  • Browne wrote this song around 1970, before he started work on his debut album. He was well known as a songwriter at this point, with songs recorded by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Byrds, and Nico. "Rock Me On The Water" was first recorded in 1971 by Johnny Rivers, then later that year by Brewer & Shipley. Browne's version was released on his debut album in January 1972 and issued as his second single, following "Doctor My Eyes."
  • Linda Ronstadt released this song on her self-titled third album early in 1972, around the same time the song appeared on Browne's album. Her version was the first released as a single, and it went to #85 in March, making it the first song written by Jackson Browne to reach the Hot 100. Browne's version went to #46 in September.

    Also around this time, a group formed by former members of Ronstadt's backing band released their first single. That group was the Eagles, and the single was "Take It Easy," co-written by... Jackson Browne.
  • The backing musicians on this track were known as "The Section" and best known for backing James Taylor and Carole King. They included Russ Kunkel on drums and Leland Sklar on bass. Craig Doerge added piano and Browne played the guitar.

Comments: 1

  • Tom Schmitz from South DakotaDavid Crosby sang harmony.
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