Tender Is The Night

Album: Lawyers In Love (1983)
Charted: 25

Songfacts®:

  • In his 1884 poem Ode to a Nightingale, John Keats wrote:

    "Tender is the night
    and haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne"

    F. Scott Fitzgerald co-opted the phrase "tender is the night" for his 1934 novel, which became a classic of American literature. Another 50 years later (OK, 49, but we'd like some poetic license here), Jackson Browne used the title for his song about the wonders of love.
  • Jackson Browne wrote this song with Danny Kortchmar and Russ Kunkel, whose names are familiar to anyone who has looked over the credits to albums by Don Henley (I Can't Stand Still), Carole King (Tapestry, Thoroughbred), Linda Ronstadt (Mad Love, Get Closer) and many others. Kortchmar and Kunkel - a guitarist and drummer, respectively - played on the Lawyers In Love album and also Browne's previous LP Running On Empty.

    In our interview with Danny Kortchmar, he explained how the song came together:

    "That started with me and Russ Kunkel sitting in my living room and just throwing some ideas around. I liked the idea that we say 'tender is the night,' which is a literary reference, and then combine that with 'when you hold your baby tight,' which is a doo-wop sort of reference. So you had highbrow and lowbrow going in the same chorus. That's what we liked about it."

    When the pair came came up with the song, they brought it to Browne knowing that he could turn it into something special.
  • Browne and his band worked on this song for months, rolling tape as they did one demo version after another at a loft in Los Angeles. Browne figures they recorded hundreds of versions of the song, but they're all very similar.
  • Rick Vito played the slide guitar solo on this track, which Browne has described as "amazing." Vito was a prominent session player in the '70s and '80s before joining Fleetwood Mac in 1987. He appeared on albums by John Mayall, Bonnie Raitt, Todd Rundgren and many others.

Comments: 2

  • Chomiji from Takoma Park, MdA song about "the wonders of love"? It's also about the agony of fighting with your love and how easily the pleasure of love turns to pain. For heaven's sake, read the verse that begins "And in the hard light of an angry sun."
  • Leo from ConnecticutThe music video also features Daryl Hannah, to whom Browne was in a relationship with at the time.
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