Our next Laurel Canyon classic comes from Laurel Canyon resident Jackson Browne with a great song called 'Something Fine' taken from an 'Old Grey Whistle Test' show in 1976.
Clyde Jackson Browne is an American singer-songwriter and musician who has sold over 18 million albums in the United States. Coming to prominence in the 1970s, Browne has written and recorded songs such as "These Days", "The Pretender", "Running on Empty", "Lawyers In Love", "Doctor My Eyes", "Take It Easy", "For a Rocker", and "Somebody's Baby". In 2004, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
Jackson Browne was born in Heidelberg, Germany, where his father, Clyde Jack Browne, an American serviceman, was stationed for his job assignment with the Stars and Stripes newspaper. Browne's mother, Beatrice Amanda (née Dahl), was a Minnesota native of Norwegian ancestry. In his teens, he began singing folk music in local venues such as the Ash Grove and The Troubadour Club. He attended Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton, California, graduating in 1966 as Clyde J. Browne.
After moving to Greenwich Village, New York, in early 1966, Browne joined the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, performing at the Golden Bear (Huntington Beach, California) where they opened for The Lovin' Spoonful. The band later recorded a number of Browne's songs, including "These Days", "Holding", and "Shadow Dream Song". Browne also spent a short time in his friend Pamela Polland's band, Gentle Soul. Before Browne's 18th birthday, he became a staff writer for Elektra Records' publishing company, Nina Music, reporting on musical events in New York City with his friends Greg Copeland and Adam Saylor. He spent the remainder of 1967 and 1968 in Greenwich Village, New York, where he backed Tim Buckley and singer Nico of the Velvet Underground. In 1967, Browne and Nico were romantically linked and he became a significant contributor to her debut album, Chelsea Girl, writing and playing guitar on several of the songs (including "These Days"). After leaving New York City, Browne formed a folk band with Ned Doheny and Jack Wilce, and settled in Los Angeles, California, where he first met Glenn Frey.
Browne's first songs, such as "Shadow Dream Song" and "These Days", were recorded by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Tom Rush, Nico, Steve Noonan, Gregg Allman, Joan Baez, the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, the Byrds, and others. Browne did not release his own version of many of these early songs until years later. Soon after this, Rolling Stone mentioned Browne as a "new face to look for" and praised his "mind-boggling melodies".
In 1971, Browne signed with his manager David Geffen's Asylum Records and released Jackson Browne (1972) produced and engineered by Richard Orshoff, 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" (written about Saylor's death) helped establish Browne's reputation. Touring to promote the album, he shared the bill with Linda Ronstadt and Joni Mitchell.
His next album, For Everyman (1973) — while considered of high quality — was less successful than his debut album, although it still sold a million copies. The upbeat "Take It Easy", cowritten with The Eagles' Glenn Frey, had already been a major success for that group, while his own recording of "These Days" reflected a sound representing Browne's angst.
Late for the Sky (1974) consolidated Browne's fan base, and the album peaked at #14 on the Billboard album chart, the 84th-best-selling album of 1974. Browne's work began to demonstrate a reputation for memorable melody, insightful, often very personal lyrics, and a talent for his arrangements in composition. It featured a Magritte-inspired cover. Highlights included the title song, the elegiac "For a Dancer", "Before the Deluge", and the often-covered "Fountain of Sorrow". The arrangements featured the violin and guitar of David Lindley, Jai Winding's piano, and the harmonies of Doug Haywood. The title track was also featured in Martin Scorsese's film Taxi Driver. During this period, Browne began his fractious but lifelong professional relationship with singer-songwriter Warren Zevon, mentoring Zevon's first two Asylum albums through the studio as a producer (working closely with Waddy Wachtel and Jorge Calderón).
Browne's character was even more apparent in his next album, The Pretender. It was released during 1976, after the suicide of his first wife, Phyllis Major. The album features production by Jon Landau and a mixture of styles, ranging from the mariachi-inspired "Linda Paloma" to the country-driven "Your Bright Baby Blues" and the downbeat "Sleep's Dark and Silent Gate". "Here Come Those Tears Again" was cowritten with Nancy Farnsworth, the mother of Browne's wife, after the untimely death of her daughter.
Browne began recording his next LP while on tour, and Running on Empty (1977) became his biggest commercial success. Breaking the usual conventions for a live album, Browne used new material and combined live concert performances with recordings made on buses, in hotel rooms, and back stage. Running on Empty contains many of his most popular songs, such as the title track, "The Road" (written and recorded in 1972 by Danny O'Keefe), "Rosie", and "The Load-Out/Stay" (Browne's send-off to his concert audiences and roadies) although none had been recorded previously.