Jackson Browne is ranked high, with the likes of Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. Browne's lyrics were reflective and cultured, and they set the folk-rock precedent for major bands of the 1970s.
Browne was born in Heidelberg, West Germany but moved to Los Angeles when he was still a toddler. He had a leaning interest in folk music as a teenager and started to play the guitar and write lyrics that he performed at folk venues. In 1966 he joined the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and they recorded a majority of his songs on their first few records. Nina Music signed him in 1967, and he released songs on Tom Rush and Steve Noonan's albums the same year. Browne moved to Greenwich Village in New York, playing in Tim Buckley's band. He worked with Nico, recording a few of his songs on her Chelsea Girl record. He then returned to Los Angeles and formed a group with Ned Doheney and Jack Wilce. Though he hadn't had his own record deal yet, he had a few more songs recorded on the albums of Linda Ronstadt and the Byrds. He finally signed with Asylum records after constructing a demo tape.
In 1972 he released a self-titled album, creating a top ten hit single with 'Doctor My Eyes'. 'Take It Easy' was then written with Glenn Frey and became the breakthrough the Eagles needed. 'Rock Me on the Water' and 'Jamaica Say You Will' also became hits much later in his career. For his sophomore album, For Everyman, he began to collaborate with David Lindley. Late for the Sky was then released in 1974. It hit the charts at number fourteen and went gold. The Pretender was recorded the same year as personal tragedy struck with his first wife committing suicide. It hit the top ten and went platinum the next year. Browne began touring and then recorded Running On Empty, surpassing his expectations of the album. It created hit singles 'Running On Empty', 'Stay' and 'The Load Out'. During this time Browne began to use his music to express his political and social ideals.
The follow-up, Hold Out, was released in 1980 and cemented Browne in the music industry by hitting number one. He then recorded 'Somebody's Baby' on the soundtrack of Fast Times At Ridgemont High, which is his biggest hit yet (number seven on the charts). The album Lawyers in Love spawned hits 'Lawyers in Love', 'Tender is the Night', and 'For A Rocker'. His next album Lives in the Balance condemned Reagan and held an audience but did not generate any top singles.
After his dramatic breakup with actress Daryl Hannah, his notable comeback in 1993 was dubbed I'm Alive, and in 1996 he released Looking East. Browne continues to tour all over North America as well as England, Scotland, Sweden, Germany, Norway, Ireland, Holland, and Italy.