Very few first albums by unknown artists can claim to be the reason for the launch of a successful recording company, but Jackson Browne’s eponymous album from 1972 is one of those albums. Browne’s music led the young David Geffen to found Asylum Records to get his client, the unknown Jackson Browne, a recording contract. It turned out well for both parties and some other artists who also sought asylum—such as Joni Mitchell, Warren Zevon, The Eagles, and Bob Dylan, among many others. Asylum seemed to be a magnet for great songwriters and Browne’s work is among the best.
As Embarrassing as Goethe
If you have ever heard stories of readers pronouncing “Goethe” as “Goeethee” only to suffer public humiliation when they are corrected, you can understand how some enthusiastic listeners must have felt when they found out that Browne’s first album is not “Saturate Before Using” or “Los Angeles, California” but simply Jackson Browne. As confusing as the cover may be to well meaning listeners and fans, the music makes it clear why Geffen was inspired to create a new music label to get Browne heard.
Beside "Doctor My Eyes"
This is an album with phenomenal lyrics, an undisputed classic. We prefer to find a hidden gem for our Then-album to compare with the artist’s recent release, but this album is just too good to bypass. Everyone is familiar with “Jamaica Say You Will” and “Doctor My Eyes” but all of the ten songs on this album stand up as well in 2015 as they did back in 1972. “Rock Me On the Water,” “From Silver Lake,” and “A Child in These Hills” all sound like they could have been hits as well. Most poignant of the tunes though is “Song for Adam,” an elegy dealing with the death of Adam Saylor in 1968.
It took 2014’s excellent Standing in the Breach to bring me back to Jackson Browne again and it’s great to hear Browne still writing songs that could inspire someone to start a record company.