Jackson Browne (born Clyde Jackson Browne; October 9, 1948) is an American rock singer-songwriter and musician who has sold in excess of 17 million albums in the United States alone.
Coming to prominence in the 1970s, Browne’s political interests and personal angst have been central to his career, resulting in popular songs such as “Somebody’s Baby”, “These Days”, “The Pretender”, “Lawyers in Love” and “Running On Empty”. In 2004, Browne was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by his friend Bruce Springsteen. The same year, Browne received an honorary Doctorate of Music from Los Angeles’ Occidental College for “a remarkable musical career that has successfully combined an intensely personal artistry with a broader vision of social change and justice”.
Browne was born in Heidelberg, Germany, where his father, an American serviceman, was stationed. Browne’s mother, Beatrice Amanda (nee Dahl), was a Minnesota native of Norwegian ancestry. Browne has three siblings: Roberta “Berbie” Browne who was born in 1946 in Nuremberg, Germany (Nuernberg) and Edward Severin Browne who was born in 1949 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. His younger sister, Gracie Browne, was born a number of years later. Browne moved to the Highland Park district of Los Angeles, California, at the age of 3 and in his teens began singing folk music in local venues like the Ash Grove. He attended Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton, California, graduating in 1966.
Later in 1966 Browne joined the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and signed a publishing contract with Nina Music. His songs were performed by Gregg Allman, Joan Baez, Tom Rush, the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, the Byrds, Steve Noonan, and others. After moving to Greenwich Village, New York, Browne was briefly in Tim Buckley’s back-up band. In 1967 Browne was romantically linked to Nico of the Velvet Underground. He was a significant contributor to her debut album, Chelsea Girl, playing guitar on several of the songs he had written (including a version of one of Browne’s earliest songwriting efforts; “These Days”). After leaving New York City, Browne formed a folk band with Ned Doheny and Jack Wilce, and settled in Southern California.
In 1971, Browne signed with Asylum Records and released Jackson Browne (1972), which included the piano-driven “Doctor My Eyes”, which entered the Top Ten in the US singles chart. “Rock Me on the Water”, from the same album, also gained considerable radio airplay, while “Jamaica Say You Will” and “Song for Adam” helped establish Browne’s reputation. Touring to promote the album, he shared the bill with Linda Ronstadt and Joni Mitchell. BOLA TANGKAS