Browne was brought up in Los Angeles during the 1950s and early 1960s, in an incredibly exciting and diverse time for popular music that he became quickly entrenched in. As a teenager, he played in venues such as now world famous Troubador, a hearth for progressive musicians such as James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Elton John and Carole King. In the mid-1960s, Browne moved to New York City, where he continued to write and perform his songs. It was not long after that he found his first significant break as a songwriter. The cult classic Chelsea Girl album by Nico featured what has become one of Browne’s most adored songs, the introspective “These Days.” This was the first of several songs written by Browne that would be popularized by other musicians in the late 1960s.
In 1972, after returning to Los Angeles, Browne released his first album, which made immediate waves with songs like “Doctor My Eyes” and “Rock Me on the Water.” Twelve more studio albums have since followed, each receiving critical acclaim for the impeccable lyricism and musicianship that Browne exhibits. Several popular classics emerged, not the least of which being “Somebody’s Baby,” “Late for the Sky” and “The Pretender.” Browne has performed with practically every major musical act of his day as well as many from the modern era. In 2004 he was immortalized into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Although his music has inspired poets and songwriters for decades, Jackson Browne’s true legacy may be rooted in his support of environmental causes and arts education programs. He has appeared to perform at several notable political protests and rallies, offering his fervent support for environmental rights activists and progressive politicians. He has offered numerous songs exclusively to benefit albums in support of those in need in Darfur and Tibet. In addition to contributing to these causes, he has proven his commitment to protecting the environment and supporting music and arts education programs by co-founding the Musicians for Safe Energy program, Nukefree.org, and the Success Through the Arts Foundation. The latter of these offers educational opportunities for underprivileged students in Browne’s native Los Angeles.
Browne’s unrelenting drive to use music to create a better world is truly inspiring and a testament to his boundless ambition as a songwriter. Whether future generations come upon his music directly, through one of the hundreds of artists that have performed his songs, or through the music of the countless artists he has influenced, they will be compelled to listen.