Song Lyric Sunday — Doctor My Eyes

My blogging buddy, Jim Adams over at A Unique Title for Me, has taken over as guest host for Helen Vahdati’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt while she takes a hiatus from blogging to deal with some health issues. Jim chose the theme for this week’s SLS to be “doctor/health/medicine.”

One of my favorite artists is Jackson Browne, and one of his first hit songs was “Doctor My Eyes.”

“Doctor My Eyes” was written by Jackson Browne and was included on his debut album Jackson Browne, which, for the longest time I thought was titled Saturate Before Using because of the album cover.5a06fc5a-34c4-4071-a480-dfa61cd86551Recorded and released in 1972, it reached number 8 on the U.S. Billboard charts that year. In the U.K., it was The Jackson 5 who had a hit with this song. Their 1973 cover went to #9.

This was Browne’s first single and it isn’t typical of his work. The radio play version ran just 2:55 and the song lacks the personal, introspective lyrics he’s known for. Still, the song did very well in America, and remains a fan favorite, garnering lots of airplay on classic rock and adult contemporary radio, and often earning a spot on Browne’s setlists.

When he first wrote the song, the lyrics were about a guy who tries to get help, but is doomed because it’s too late. His record company thought it was too much of a downer, so Browne made it into a story about a guy who has gone through a lot in life and comes to accept his fate.

Here are the lyrics to this song.

Doctor, my eyes have seen the years
And the slow parade of fears without crying
Now I want to understand

I have done all that I could
To see the evil and the good without hiding
You must help me if you can

Doctor, my eyes
Tell me what is wrong
Was I unwise to leave them open for so long

‘Cause I have wandered through this world
And as each moment has unfurled
I’ve been waiting to awaken from these dreams
People go just where they will
I never noticed them until I got this feeling
That it’s later than it seems

Doctor, my eyes
Tell me what you see
I hear their cries
Just say if it’s too late for me

Doctor, my eyes
Cannot see the sky
Is this the prize for having learned how not to cry

Day 22 — Moving Forward

For today’s 30-Day Song Challenge we are asked for “a song that moves you forward.” As I thought about that prompt, I thought about transportation: a car, a train, a plane, a boat.

So for the second day in a row I’m going to tap into Jackson Browne, this time with his song “Running on Empty.”

With lyrics like these, this song is definitely about moving forward, or at least attempting to do so, even if you don’t know where moving forward will take you.

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields
In sixty-five I was seventeen and running up one-o-one
I don’t know where I’m running now, I’m just running on

Running on – running on empty
Running on – running blind
Running on – running into the sun
But I’m running behind

Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive
Trying not to confuse it with what you do to survive
In sixty-nine 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

Running on – running on empty
Running on – running blind
Running on – running into the sun
But I’m running behind

Everyone I know, everywhere I go
People need some reason to believe
I don’t know about anyone but me
If it takes all night, that’ll be all right
If I can get you to smile before I leave

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
I don’t know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels
I look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through
Looking into their eyes I see them running too

Running on – running on empty
Running on – running blind
Running on – running into the sun
But I’m running behind

Honey you really tempt me
You know the way you look so kind
I’d love to stick around but I’m running behind
You know I don’t even know what I’m hoping to find
Running into the sun but I’m running behind

Fun fact: My then girlfriend — and now my wife — and I were in the audience at the concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, on August 27, 1977 when this song, and the rest of the “Running on Empty” album, was recorded.

Day 21 — The Name Game

For today’s 30-Day Song Challenge we are asked for “a song you like with a person’s name in the title.”

There are so many songs that meet that criteria, but there’s one with, shall we say, a twist. Many who hear it assume it to be a sweet love song about a girl named Rosie. But if you listen carefully to the words, you’ll realize that it’s a song about something else entirely.

So here is Jackson Browne’s song, “Rosie.” Listen carefully to the lyrics…if you dare.

Song Lyric Sunday — Love’s Illusions

This week’s theme from Helen Vahdati for her Song Lyric Sunday prompt is “picture/photograph.” For anyone who has been following my blog, you know that I’m a big Jackson Browne fan. And perhaps my favorite Jackson Browne song is “Fountain of Sorrow.”

“Fountain of Sorrow,” written by Browne, was released as his second single from his 1974 album, Late for the Sky. Because of its lenght (6:42), it never made it to the Billboard Hot 100 listing, but it’s still considered one of his best known, best loved songs.

The song starts out with someone looking through some photographs and is surprised by what he sees. According to Browne, the song “talks about disappointment, but in a forgiving way.” He explained that “it acknowledges that people are always looking for something in each other that they may not find. The song says that not only is that okay, but what’s more enduring is the goodwill and acceptance of each others’ right to be on this search and to make your own choices, and that one’s longing or sorrow is part of your own search, not a byproduct of somebody else’s.”

Some have suggested that the song was inspired by Browne’s brief relationship with Joni Mitchell, another one of my favorite artists. One quality of this song, and of many of Browne’s work, is his ability to make very personal experiences seem almost universal.

There are so many great lines in this song, but a few, like “What I was seeing wasn’t what was happening at all / Although for a while, our path did seem to climb,” and “And while the future’s there for anyone to change, still you know it seems / It would be easier sometimes to change the past” stand out in particular. And this one makes me feel quite sad, because it has happened to me: “When you see through love’s illusions, there lies the danger / And your perfect lover just looks like a perfect fool.”

Here are the lyrics to “Fountain of Sorrow.”

Looking through some photographs I found inside a drawer
I was taken by a photograph of you
There were one or two I know that you would have liked a little more
But they didn’t show your spirit quite as true

You were turning ’round to see who was behind you
And I took your childish laughter by surprise
And at the moment that my camera happened to find you
There was just a trace of sorrow in your eyes

Now the things that I remember seem so distant and so small
Though it hasn’t really been that long a time
What I was seeing wasn’t what was happening at all
Although for a while, our path did seem to climb

When you see through love’s illusions, there lies the danger
And your perfect lover just looks like a perfect fool
So you go running off in search of a perfect stranger
While the loneliness seems to spring from your life
Like a fountain from a pool

Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You’ve known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
You’ve had to hide sometimes, but now you’re all right
And it’s good to see your smiling face tonight

Now for you and me it may not be that hard to reach our dreams
But that magic feeling never seems to last
And while the future’s there for anyone to change, still you know it seems
It would be easier sometimes to change the past

I’m just one or two years and a couple of changes behind you
In my lessons at love’s pain and heartache school
Where if you feel too free and you need something to remind you
There’s this loneliness springing up from your life
Like a fountain from a pool

Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You’ve known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
You’ve had to hide sometimes but now you’re all right
And it’s good to see your smiling face tonight

Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You’ve known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
You’ve had to struggle, you’ve had to fight
To keep understanding and compassion in sight
You could be laughing at me, you’ve got the right
But you go on smiling so clear and so bright

Song Lyric Sunday — Take It Easy

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt, Helen Vahdati selected “drive/driving” as the theme. I’m a big fan of both Jackson Browne and of the Eagles, so choosing the song “Take it Easy,” written by Browne and the Eagles’ Glenn Frey, was an easy choice for me.

“Take It Easy” was the Eagles’ first single, released in May 1972. Frey sang lead vocals. It peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also was the opening track on the band’s debut album, Eagles. Jackson Browne later recorded the song as the lead track on his second album, For Everyman, in 1973. He also released it as a single.

Browne started writing this song for his first album, but he didn’t know how to finish it. At the time, he was living in an apartment in Los Angeles, and his upstairs neighbor was Glenn Frey, who needed songs for his new band, the Eagles. Frey heard Browne working on the song and told Jackson that he thought it was great. Browne said he was having trouble completing the track, and played what he had of it. Browne then played the unfinished second verse that begins with “Well, I’m a-standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona…,” and Frey finished the verse with “Such a fine sight to see. It’s a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me.”

Browne turned the song over to Frey, who finished writing it and recorded it with the Eagles. Frey says that Browne did most of the work on the song and was very generous in sharing the writing credit. He described Browne’s unfinished version of the song as a “package without the ribbon.”

I’m including the Eagles’ version as well as Jackson Browne’s in this post.

Here are the song’s lyrics:

Well, I’m running down the road
tryin’ to loosen my load
I’ve got seven women on
my mind,
Four that wanna own me,
Two that wanna stone me,
One says she’s a friend of mine

Take It easy, take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels
drive you crazy
Lighten up while you still can
don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand
and take it easy

Well, I’m a standing on a corner
in Winslow, Arizona
and such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed
Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me
Come on, baby, don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is
gonna save me
We may lose and we may win though
we will never be here again
so open up, I’m climbin’ in,
so take it easy

Well I’m running down the road trying to loosen
my load, got a world of trouble on my mind
lookin’ for a lover who won’t blow my
cover, she’s so hard to find

Take it easy, take it easy
don’t let the sound of your own
wheels make you crazy
come on baby, don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is
gonna save me, oh oh oh
Oh we got it easy
We oughta take it easy