Browne, Jackson

Browne, Jackson

▪ American musician
in full  Clyde Jackson Browne 
born October 9, 1948, Heidelberg, Germany

      German-born American singer, songwriter, pianist, and guitarist, who helped define the singer-songwriter (singer-songwriters) movement of the 1970s.

      Born in Germany to a musical family with deep roots in southern California, Browne grew up in Los Angeles and Orange county. His interest in music led to his membership in the fledgling Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and to late-1960s stints in New York City as a backing musician for Nico of the Velvet Underground (Velvet Underground, the) and for Tim Buckley. He was first noticed as a songwriter, and his compositions were recorded by performers such as Tom Rush, the Byrds (Byrds, the), and Linda Ronstadt (Ronstadt, Linda) before he recorded his eponymous debut album in 1972 (featuring the Top Ten hit "Doctor My Eyes" ). Part of a coterie of musicians that established Los Angeles as the home of country rock, Browne cowrote several songs for the Eagles (Eagles, the) (most notably "Take It Easy" ).

      Profoundly influenced by Bob Dylan (Dylan, Bob) and in the tradition of Jack Kerouac (Kerouac, Jack), Browne created a protagonist whose quest for love, understanding, and justice was a mythic extension of his own experience. After winning a cult following with his first three albums—the last two, including the highly regarded Late for the Sky, featured instrumentalist David Lindley—Browne had million-selling hits with The Pretender (1976) and the live album Running on Empty (1978). His musical style ranged from romantic folk rock ballads to up-tempo rock and reggae. In the 1980s his music took a political turn that mirrored his activism; his albums in the 1990s reflected a return to more personal concerns. In 2004 Browne was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Universalium. 2010.

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