Childhood & Early Life
Jackson Browne was born in Heidelberg, Germany to Clyde Jack Browne, an American serviceman and Beatrice Amanda Dahl.
When he was three, his family settled down in the district of Highland Park in Los Angeles, California and as a teenager, he became interested in folk music and sang at various venues around the city.
In 1966, he graduated from the Sunny Hills High School, California, after which he moved to Greenwich Village, New York, where he became part of the country-folk-rock band ‘Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’.
For a brief period, he worked as a writer for Nina Music, for which he reported on musical happenings in and around New York City.
From 1967 to 1968, he backed the American rock band ‘The Velvet Underground’ and he also worked with singer, Nico, and wrote and played the guitar for many of her songs, in her debut album ‘Chelsea Girl’.
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In 1972, his self-titled debut album was released. The album peaked at the 53rd position on Billboard 200 and featured the hit singles, ‘Doctor My Eyes’, and ‘Rock Me On the Water’
In October 1973, he came up with his second album titled ‘For Everyman’, featuring the hit single ‘Redneck Friend’, a song that was also written by him. It was also released in France and Japan.
Released in 1974, his Grammy Award nominated album ‘Late for the Sky’, is regarded as one of his best works and received many positive critical reviews.
In 1976, his Grammy Award nominated album ‘The Pretender’ was released after the suicide of his first wife, Phyllis Major. The album received positive ratings and also peaked at the charts.
In 1977, one of his most successful albums ‘Running on Empty’ was released, featuring the title track ‘Running on Empty’ and the single ‘The Load-Out’. The album earned two Grammy Award nominations and was one of the best-selling albums that year.
His 1980 album ‘Hold Out’, topped the charts but failed to receive critical reviews.
Released under the label of Asylum Records in 1983, ‘Layers in Love’, was one of his hit albums that featured the all-time hit single, ‘Somebody's Baby’.
In 1986, his album ‘Lives in the Balance’ was released. The album featured the singles ‘For America’ and ‘In the Shape of a Heart’. The album was also released in Sweden, where it reached the number two position.
In 1989, ‘World in Motion’, an album that he worked on for a period of three years, was released. The album addressed the issues of nuclear disarmament but it failed to impress music critics.
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In 1993, ‘Im Alive’, widely regarded as his comeback album, was released. The album featured the title track ‘Im Alive’ along with other singles such as ‘Everywhere I Go’ and ‘Sky Blue and Black’.
In 1996, his album ‘Looking East’ came out, which touched political and social themes. The album was not well-received and it was considered a major let down by his fans.
Released in 2002, ‘The Naked Ride Home’ featured the single ‘Sky Blue and Black’ and the album also featured the works of musicians, Keb Mo and Greg Leisz.
On September 23, 2008, his album ‘Time the Conqueror’ was released by Inside Recordings. Through the album he expressed his opinion on the George Bush administration and it went on to top the charts.
In 2011, he worked with rock music legend, Buddy Holly on his tribute album titled, ‘Listen to Me: Buddy Holly’.
His 1976 album ‘The Pretender’ peaked at number 5 on the ‘Billboard 200’ and it was also ranked number 391 on the ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine’s list of ‘500 greatest albums of all time’. The album also received ‘Gold’ and ‘Platinum’ record certifications.
His album ‘Hold Out’ reached the number one position on the ‘Billboard 200’. The album also received multi-platinum certification in 2001.
Released in 1983, his album ‘Layers in Love’, peaked at the 8th position on the ‘Pop Albums’ chart and stayed at the same position for a period of 33 weeks.
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Awards & Achievements
In 2002, he received the John Steinbeck Award, which is given for contribution to environmental and social values.
In 2004, he was inducted in the ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ and the same year he was conferred an honorary Doctorate of Music, by the occidental College of Los Angeles.
In 2007, he received the Chapin-World Hunger Year Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award.
In 2008, he was awarded the NARM Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award.
In 2010, he was awarded the Duke LEAF Award in the category, ‘Lifetime Environmental Achievement in the Fine Arts’.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1967, he was romantically involved with German musician Christa P�ffgen, popularly known as Nico.
In 1975, he married an European model Phyllis Major, and the couple had a child together. In 1976, Major committed suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills.
In 1979, he became part of the anti-nuclear energy activist group called ‘Musicians United for Safe Energy’, after the ‘Three Mile Island’ nuclear accident.
In 1981, he married his second wife, Lynne Sweeney and they had a son together. The couple divorced in 1983, after which he started seeing actress Daryl Hannah. In 1992, his relationship with Daryl Hannah came to an end. He was also romantically involved with Dianna Cohen, an environmental activist and artist.