The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Music, Jackson Browne "Running on Empty"

   Welcome to my next installment of "Monday's Music".  I decided to go with "Running on Empty from Jackson Browne.  I first heard this song on the radio and it was a staple of the Rock stations and the song was on "BJ and the Bear".  it was what I consider a good driving song.  One you can listen to over and over.  Another song from the "Eagles" called "Already Gone" is the same way with me.  The song envisions driving on the long open road with the asphalt beneath your tires, the windows open...and if the car is a ragtop, having the top down and soaking up the sun.

     "Running on Empty" is a song written and performed by American singer-songwriter Jackson Browne. It is the title track to his 1977 live album of the same name, recorded at a concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, on August 27, 1977. A #11 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 when it was released as a single, it spent seventeen weeks on the chart after debuting on February 11, 1978 at position #72. Rolling Stone ranked it at number 496 on its list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" and it is one of Browne's signature songs.

The song was written while Browne was driving to the studio each day to make The Pretender, according to Rolling Stone magazine: "I was always driving around with no gas in the car," Browne is quoted. "I just never bothered to fill up the tank because — how far was it anyway? Just a few blocks."
The song may be meant to describe the rigors of a musician's day-to-day life on the road, and its effect on his life as a whole, in connection with the themes of much of the album, but the lyric is more generally applicable, as well:
Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels —
Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields.
In '65 I was seventeen and running up 101
I don't know where I'm running now, I'm just running on ...
The song starts off with an immediate, propulsive backbeat, with the melody carried by piano and throughout laced by David Lindley's distinctive lap steel guitar work. Browne receives vocal back up from Rosemary Butler and Doug Haywood.
The lyric's ages and years match up with Browne's:
In '69 I was twenty-one and I called the road my own
I don't know when that road turned onto the road I'm on.
Rolling Stone writer Paul Nelson saw "Running on Empty" as embodying a "tenacious, win/lose duality" and being "what daydreamers have nightmares about":
You know I don't even know what I'm hoping to find ...
Running into the sun, but I'm running behind.
With its #11 peak on the Hot 100 in spring 1978, "Running on Empty" was Browne's third-biggest hit single in his career (trailing only "Doctor My Eyes" and "Somebody's Baby"), and subsequently became his most-played song on classic rock radio formats. It became a staple of Browne's concerts, and whenever Bruce Springsteen has guested at such shows, they have shared vocals on "Running on Empty".


  1. Good song, and I think we've ALL been there...

  2. Good song, and I think we've ALL been there...

  3. I love Jackson Browne! And yes...energy refill, please. LOL

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  5. Try again. Is that a young Hulk Hogan on drums? ;-)