The Load-Out

Album: Running on Empty (1977)
Charted: 20
Play Video


  • Browne wrote this rambling piece as an affectionate tribute to the roadies, assistants and staff who help him take his show on the road, setting up and taking down his stage sets and moving his instruments (a process known as "The Loadout"). He often played it at the end of each performance, usually with his cover of "Stay."
  • The songs on Running on Empty were recorded live in various settings. "The Load-Out" was recorded at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland during a show on August 27, 1977. The song was something Browne had been working on with his band - Danny Kortchmar (guitar), Russ Kunkel (drums), David Lindley (various instruments), and Leland Sklar (bass). They didn't have an arrangement they liked, but when Browne did three encores at the show, they found themselves out of material but still hankering to play. Kunkel suggested they play the song and see what happens. The resulting performance was so good that it made the album. This was the first time the band played the song.
  • Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played this along with Browne at the No Nukes Concert in 1980. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ekristheh - Halath
  • The Running on Empty album was envisioned as a live album made up of old and new material. When Browne and his team listened back to their performances, however, they liked the new songs a lot better and decided to use just those.

Comments: 13

  • Brian Thurgood from CanadaWe played this at my brother's funeral. Very appropriate.
  • Bob from St. LouisCan someone find the album cover and verify it was written at a hotel room in Collinsville IL. a Holiday Inn room 120/119?
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxDan, that's a great story. It must have been magic to have been there and even moreso to later hear it on the radio.
  • Paul from Tacoma, WaIn the 60's and early 70's, many concert promoters hired local companies to do the sound for the travelling acts because of their familiarity with the local venues. As concerts got larger and became more of a "show", large companies like Claire Brothers and Showco pretty much took over doing the sound travelling from venue to venue using local crews only as "helpers" for the grunt work. Although it maintained a continuity in the equipment and core engineers, it put a lot of small local sound companies, like the one i worked for, effectively out of business.
  • Ted from Phoenix, AzAt the time this song came out, most U.S. top-40 radio stations did not play "The Load Out,", preferring to play the song "Stay" instead. Many AOR stations combined the two songs and played them as one long song. In my hometown of Phoenix, AZ, KOOL-FM which back then played a mix of adult top-40 and oldies, combined the two songs and then took out the first few verses--the version heard on that station began with the lyrics, "But the band's on the bus ...."
  • Barry from New York, NcIf I was on a tour bus with Country & Western, Disco and 8-tracks, I'd ask to take another bus!!!
  • Sam from Hipsville, CaMary,AZ------Not only some musicians, but i think the general public can't ever really know just how much is involved for Roadies in setting up and tearing down a band. God Bless 'em ALL! They make each and every show happen.
  • Dan from New Market, MdI was at this live concert at Merriweather Post in Maryland when they recorded it. It was the final "encore" song, when the audience were calling for "one more"! Jackson came out alone and began playing piano... you can hear when the other band members start to make their entrance when the first applause begins part way through the song... it was the best encore I have ever seen!! Amazing concert!!
  • Michelle from Ny, NyA local classic rock radio station by me plays this a lot, I love it.. There is something about it thats just so sentimental.. Its a great song to sing out loud to, especially in the car..
  • Heather from T-boro, NcI LOVE this song, I sing it whenever I hear it.
  • Mary from Phoenix, AzI love this song...I love that Jackson wrote it for all those people. I don't think a lot of musicians realize what their "roadies" really do. And how much work it is, to make sure they have a perfect show.
  • Patrick from Tallapoosa, GaThis is a very moving song. Shows how a lot of performers really enjoy what they do, and wishing they could "stay just a little bit longer" for the fans in each town on their tour. I'm sure a lot of performers get run ragged going from town to town on their tours, and not really getting to meet their fans in a more relaxed, non-professional environment such as local restaurants or shops.
  • Eric from Milltown, InAfter all of the away games at our high school, me and my friends blast this song and sing along. It's the perfect song to listen to while on a "Bell Run."
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Steve Morse of Deep Purple

Steve Morse of Deep PurpleSongwriter Interviews

Deep Purple's guitarist since 1994, Steve talks about writing songs with the band and how he puts his own spin on "Smoke On The Water."

Band Names

Band NamesFact or Fiction

Was "Pearl" Eddie Vedder's grandmother, and did she really make a hallucinogenic jam? Did Journey have a contest to name the group? And what does KISS stand for anyway?

Francis Rossi of Status Quo

Francis Rossi of Status QuoSongwriter Interviews

Doubt led to drive for Francis, who still isn't sure why one of Status Quo's biggest hits is so beloved.

Little Big Town

Little Big TownSongwriter Interviews

"When seeds that you sow grow by the wicked moon/Be sure your sins will find you out/Your past will hunt you down and turn to tell on you."

John Doe of X

John Doe of XSongwriter Interviews

With his X-wife Exene, John fronts the band X and writes their songs.

Yacht Rock Quiz

Yacht Rock QuizFact or Fiction

Christopher Cross with Deep Purple? Kenny Loggins in Caddyshack? A Fact or Fiction all about yacht rock and those who made it.