Jackson Browne emerged from Los Angeles to become the quintessential “sensitive singer-songwriter.” His ability to craft melodic but intimate songs brought him widespread commercial acceptance and helped set the tone for the soft California Rock sound that would flourish in the 70s.
Raised in Los Angeles, Browne began writing original songs and performing in local clubs while still in his teens. Shortly after graduating high school in 1966 he moved to New York City to concentrate on songwriting. He became a staff writer for a publishing company and developed a reputation for writing poetic, confessional songs that belied his youthful age. Eventually Browne’s songs would be covered by artists including Tom Rush, Gregg Allman, Joan Baez, Linda Ronstadt and the Byrds.
While in New York, Browne began hanging around with pop-artist Andy Warhol’s entourage and became romantically involved with Velvet Underground singer Nico. He played guitar and wrote several songs for her 1967 album “Chelsea Girl.” After breaking up with Nico, Browne moved back to Los Angeles. He arrived just as a Singer-Songwriter movement was blossoming, and he began consorting with fellow writers Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Warren Zevon, David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Glenn Frey. Frey and Browne would co-write the Eagle’s debut single, "Take It Easy."
Browne’s demos attracted the attention of David Geffen; Browne became the first artist signed to Geffen’s Asylum label. Browne’s self-titled 1972 debut featured the Top Ten single "Doctor My Eyes," and was the first in a series of well-reviewed 1970s albums that established Browne as one of the preeminent singer-songwriters of the time. Browne closed out the 70s with “Running on Empty,” an album largely recorded while tour that mixed live concert performances with recordings made in hotel rooms, backstage and on tour buses. It became his most commercially successful record, spending over a year on the Billboard album chart. Its follow-up, 1980’s “Hold Out” reached No. 1 and contained two top 40 singles.
A longtime environmental advocate, Browne co-founded the anti-nuclear group Musicians United for Safe Energy, which held a series of high-profile No Nukes concerts at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1979. He’s continued to be active on environmental and human-rights issues, and has continued to release new music. While he occasionally revisits the highly personal style of his earlier days, in the past couple decades he’s taken a turn toward political and social themes; he’s also experimented with World Music and toured and recorded as a solo performer. His latest record is 2010’s Love is Strange: En Vivo Con Tino, a live double-disc recorded with multi-instrumentalist David Lindley (a longtime collaborator) and Spanish percussionist Tino di Geraldo.