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Jackson Browne — Running On Empty
Album: Running On Empty
Avg rating:
7.4

Your rating:
Total ratings: 988









Released: 1978
Length: 4:42
Plays (last 30 days): 1
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

(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 '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

(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
Look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through
Looking into their eyes, I see they're 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
(Running on) You know I don't even know what I'm hoping to find
(Running blind) Running into the sun but I'm running behind
Comments (78)add comment
I wore out the cassette tape back in the day.
Returning to my desk at work after a few days of travelling for work, going through my emails ... starting to feel like this "running on empty, but running on"
"'69 I was one year old, and I called the crib my own."
Wandering in the Wonder years
 GuiltyFeat wrote:
I know this is supposed to be some kind of AOR classic, but it was never really a 'thing' in the UK in the 70s/80s when I was growing up and, frankly, leaves me cold today.

Blandsville.
 

Well, that really has more to do with "fashion" doesn't it? After all, it was "cool" to be listening to Buzzcocks, Talking Heads and The Clash back in '78, not this stuff. I hated this laid back AOR stuff back then too. Somehow, I appreciate it much more now. This is excellent songcraft. 
 nagsheadlocal wrote:
David Lindley has always been one of those guitarists who "owns" his instrument. A very distinctive voice, like Mark Knopfler.

  Indeed!  {#Guitarist}

 SeriousLee wrote:

I'm following suit. A classic. {#Cheers}
 
wish I were running up a road...
 cosmiclint wrote:
I'm just going all in and bumping this from 9 -> 10. It was always going to get there and today is the day.
 
I'm following suit. A classic. {#Cheers}
I'm just going all in and bumping this from 9 -> 10. It was always going to get there and today is the day.
David Lindley rocks.
David Lindley has always been one of those guitarists who "owns" his instrument. A very distinctive voice, like Mark Knopfler.
I know this is supposed to be some kind of AOR classic, but it was never really a 'thing' in the UK in the 70s/80s when I was growing up and, frankly, leaves me cold today.

Blandsville.
This is one of those songs that I've heard so many times I memorized every note, chord change and audience clap.  Completely lost touch with any music merit.  And such is the case when a song is *overplayed* to the point of monotony.  I can confidently say that my life would improve if I never heard this song again and so I hope it goes.  I ponder the audience members who must have died since since this recording as I battle my personal pedal steel ear worm.   Sad part is that, as hard as it may be to believe, Jackson Browne has indeed written and performed other songs.  Would be nice to hear one of those sometime.
 
Clarion State College. Senior year. Ahhhhhhhhhh.
 agmusci wrote:

You can hear a lot of songs here that get played on classic rock stations, because they are...great songs.  Never gets old.

 
The difference being, here you don't hear them all day every day.
This is one of those songs I only need to hear about once a year. David Lindley does kick ass though.
 nomnol wrote:
Geez guys. I can hear this on any classic rock radio station any day of the week.

 
You can hear a lot of songs here that get played on classic rock stations, because they are...great songs.  Never gets old.
 Cynaera wrote:
This whole CD was recorded in various places, including a hotel room and the back of a tour bus (the drum was a cardboard box.)  There's one song ("The Road") that starts out acoustic and seamlessly segués into the live concert version - it still takes my breath away.  And holy wow, check this out:

Wavy Gravy's 75th Birthday
Friday, May 27th, 2011 - 7pm Beacon Theatre, New York City

Featuring:

Jackson Browne
Ani DiFranco
Dr. John
Steve Earle
Bruce Hornsby
Jorma Kaukonen
Steve Kimock
Allison Moorer
Buffy Sainte-Marie
& Surprise Guests!

Say what you will - and I know some of you will! - but this guy is, to me, an icon.

 
Everybody in my mushrooming multitude of elevators loves this profound classic song...  we miss you so much, Cynaera...
I don't know when that road turned onto the road I'm on.  

This is so true as you grow older and reflect on your life. 
This was all over the radio that year, as were the other musicians in that wild photo posted below... I was working at my first job, at a Japanese restaurant that changed my life in so many ways. Emi, from Kobe, my Second Mother, owned the place. I was only 16 when I started, got my brother and buddy jobs there, and went from dishwasher to busboy to waiter and maitre d' and had a hot-rod mean metallic green Cutlass, and a fondness for beer and sake which I traded hash and weed for with hot little Okinawan waitress Mariko...
I have to disagree with you. A lot of the heavily spun tunes on "classic" rock stations couldn't take the wear, this song can. It is timeless, and it's not even the best song on the album.
hschlossberg wrote:
Overplayed on every station everywhere.  I'd hoped to escape it here on RP.  It hasn't aged very well.

 


Looking forward to seeing him this Friday at a classic venue...the Santa Barbara Bowl!
Overplayed on every station everywhere.  I'd hoped to escape it here on RP.  It hasn't aged very well.
Geez guys. I can hear this on any classic rock radio station any day of the week.
 slandering wrote:

some guys have all the luck!!!!

 
I can t imagine how the fans loved it! One of rocks best anthems and usually what my car is doing.
 spotcheckbilly wrote:

I was at the show where this was recorded. 

 
some guys have all the luck!!!!
juuh geil  10  ;-)   feel like i m running on empty here in my tiny office
 Steely_D wrote:
Saw this tour twice. Excellent.

"Everyone I know. Every where I go. People need some reason to believe.
(I don't know about anyone but me...)

 
I was at the show where this was recorded. 
 Hannio wrote:
I have never understood the popularity of Jackson Browne.  I just don't get it.  I recognize the musical and technical skill of his work, but it seems so bland, like a baloney sandwich on Wonder bread.  With no mustard.  Just baloney and white bread.

 

Hmmm . . .

Interesting lyrics . . .

David Lindley on guitar . . .

. One man's baloney sandwich can be another man's feast.  Jackson mines some of the same philosophical/emotional fields deeper in other early works, but this adds the element of open-road escapism (somewhat analogous to some of Bruce Springsteen's early works).  In those moments of acute confusion over your life's path, this one speaks to you and lifts you. That's enough.                
Saw this tour twice. Excellent.

"Everyone I know. Every where I go. People need some reason to believe.
(I don't know about anyone but me...)
Uhhhg, ick.  Another bad flashback from the '70's.  Please return it to Time's dustbin.
Very nice...in a Rod McKuen sort of way.
 Hannio wrote:
I have never understood the popularity of Jackson Browne.  I just don't get it.  I recognize the musical and technical skill of his work, but it seems so bland, like a baloney sandwich on Wonder bread.  With no mustard.  Just baloney and white bread.

 
...with the crust cut off - part of that granola-infused, Laurel Canyon, "soft rock" infestation.  God, I heard this song incessantly on the radio when I was in high school and loathed it - it doesn't bother me as much nowadays.  Plenty of my friends were into this stuff back then, not me so much.  Oh, well, to each his own.
Fantastic photo below!!!!

Also, by far, my favorite summertime driving song...... {#Bananajam} 
 Glen Frey and Don Felder look a little green around the gills.

calypsus_1 wrote:

Long Long Time. by skipgoforth
Skip Goforth
https://www.flickr.com/photos/shaman683/

I had such a crush on Linda Ronstadt!

From the RIGHT:Jackson Browne,Joe Walsh,Dan Fogelberg,Randy Meisner,Jerry Brown,Governor of California, and Linda Ronstadt's boyfriend at the time.(!)Glen Frey,Don Felder,Don Henley, who was also Ronstadt's boyfriend, and is seen raising Linda's dress, and esteemed California guitarist,David Lindley , who is best known for giving Jackson Browne songs their trademark shimmering guitar sound. (listen to "Running On Empty" for an example.) I think I have everybody named right, but I stand to be corrected, because I am working from memory. This picture is mainly Linda Ronstadt and her backup band, the Eagles, who went on to some fame themselves!  ;)

Copyright All rights reserved

  
 

 


 Hannio wrote:
I have never understood the popularity of Jackson Browne.  I just don't get it.  I recognize the musical and technical skill of his work, but it seems so bland, like a baloney sandwich on Wonder bread.  With no mustard.  Just baloney and white bread.

 
Great voice, melodic, foot-tapping tunes, interesting harmonies.  Screeching but relatively tame guitar.

There is much that makes it popular.  I would not buy it personally but I enjoy hearing it.  
I have never understood the popularity of Jackson Browne.  I just don't get it.  I recognize the musical and technical skill of his work, but it seems so bland, like a baloney sandwich on Wonder bread.  With no mustard.  Just baloney and white bread.
1607 W.40th Austin, Tx{#Bananajam}
..... amazing live album 
 xkolibuul wrote:

Sweet photo.  For a second there, before I got my bearings, I thought someone had photoshopped Jenny Lewis into the '70s with the gang.

 
I gotta confess I had to look up who Jenny Lewis was. Maybe RP should play her more so that fogies like me catch on quicker...

Great, great photo. Definitely captures an era. I really don't know much about Linda and Jerry's relationship, but it must have been a bit odd given their professions. Brown was socially liberal even back then but apparently he was deeply conservative when it came to budgetary matters.

Linda was just hawt. My God. Take a look at the pic for "Blue Bayou" if you doubt me (Roy Orbison wrote it, but Linda owns it). The Eagles were her backing band?!?! 

Had no idea David Lindley was Jackson Brown's guitar—wow. Love his tracks that RP's played including "Mercury Blues" and "Talk to the Lawyer." 
This song seems to need a longer time between hearings, than most other songs, in my opinion.

I do like David Lindley, more so on his own recordings.
I'm not the biggest Jackson Browne fan, but David Lindley on slide guitar is a monster.
This song has not aged well.  Or maybe it's just that I never liked it when it was new either.
Good lord.
Run, Forest, Run! {#Bounce}
 calypsus_1 wrote:

Long Long Time. by skipgoforth
Skip Goforth
https://www.flickr.com/photos/shaman683/

I had such a crush on Linda Ronstadt!

From the RIGHT:Jackson Browne,Joe Walsh,Dan Fogelberg,Randy Meisner,Jerry Brown,Governor of California, and Linda Ronstadt's boyfriend at the time.(!)Glen Frey,Don Felder,Don Henley, who was also Ronstadt's boyfriend, and is seen raising Linda's dress, and esteemed California guitarist,David Lindley , who is best known for giving Jackson Browne songs their trademark shimmering guitar sound. (listen to "Running On Empty" for an example.) I think I have everybody named right, but I stand to be corrected, because I am working from memory. This picture is mainly Linda Ronstadt and her backup band, the Eagles, who went on to some fame themselves!  ;)

Copyright All rights reserved

  
 
 
Sweet photo.  For a second there, before I got my bearings, I thought someone had photoshopped Jenny Lewis into the '70s with the gang.
How appropriate for my life right now....
 Keef wrote:

Damn, isn't that guy still our Governor?
 
Wow!  What a great pic!  Where did that get dug up from?
 shellbella wrote:
How many ways do I love you Jackson Browne??   {#Hearteyes}
 
Many.  But sure would love some Bob Seger, RP.
Please.{#Yell}
 calypsus_1 wrote:

Long Long Time. by skipgoforth
Skip Goforth
https://www.flickr.com/photos/shaman683/

I had such a crush on Linda Ronstadt!

From the RIGHT:Jackson Browne,Joe Walsh,Dan Fogelberg,Randy Meisner,Jerry Brown,Governor of California, and Linda Ronstadt's boyfriend at the time.(!)Glen Frey,Don Felder,Don Henley, who was also Ronstadt's boyfriend, and is seen raising Linda's dress, and esteemed California guitarist,David Lindley , who is best known for giving Jackson Browne songs their trademark shimmering guitar sound. (listen to "Running On Empty" for an example.) I think I have everybody named right, but I stand to be corrected, because I am working from memory. This picture is mainly Linda Ronstadt and her backup band, the Eagles, who went on to some fame themselves!  ;)

Copyright All rights reserved

  
 
 
Damn, isn't that guy still our Governor?
How many ways do I love you Jackson Browne??   {#Hearteyes}
His best...?
I like Jackson Browne. but for me many of his songs, including this one, have not aged well.
I appreciate that he is still out there doing it—props to him for that!  {#Cheers}

This song sounds as good today as it did 30+ years ago.


Memories hmm. I think he is playing Charlotte soon
This song was the haunting angst blown whistle of my own particular runaway train in the day!
Great song and powerful memories - love it!

Long Long Time. by skipgoforth
Skip Goforth
https://www.flickr.com/photos/shaman683/

I had such a crush on Linda Ronstadt!

From the RIGHT:Jackson Browne,Joe Walsh,Dan Fogelberg,Randy Meisner,Jerry Brown,Governor of California, and Linda Ronstadt's boyfriend at the time.(!)Glen Frey,Don Felder,Don Henley, who was also Ronstadt's boyfriend, and is seen raising Linda's dress, and esteemed California guitarist,David Lindley , who is best known for giving Jackson Browne songs their trademark shimmering guitar sound. (listen to "Running On Empty" for an example.) I think I have everybody named right, but I stand to be corrected, because I am working from memory. This picture is mainly Linda Ronstadt and her backup band, the Eagles, who went on to some fame themselves!  ;)

Copyright All rights reserved

  
 
I was a freshman in college when this came out.

Man...
Such affection and nostalgia for this song!
Her name was Linda, and I took that summer off to travel the country in my VW camper van with friends. She moved onto someone else while I was moving on. Still miss that girl, but that trip was priceless. Thanks Bill for memory lane. I was so heartbroken from the loss of her love, but I guess it taught me how shallow people can be.
 Art_Carnage wrote:
"Gotta do whatcha can just to keep your lava light"??


 
{#Roflol}{#Roflol} Thanks ever so much, Art_Carnage - I haven't laughed this hard in days!

Wow. 

The Wayback machine is set for my buddy's smoke-filled little pop-up camper, parked in his parent's backyard and plugged into their house.  (Flunking out of college got him — sort of — kicked out of their house.)  Listening to this over and over and over, by leaving up the record player's arm.


Oh, flashback.  One of my first 45 RPM singles.
Saw this show twice, and to see Lindley, Doerge, Kunkel, Sklar, Heywood, and Kortchmar up on stage with him? That was cool.

I also saw Jackson Browne in 1980 at Merriweather Post Pavilion (where this song was recorded in 77' I think?).  The band for that tour featured Billy Payne of Little Feat on keyboards.  Fantastic concert and freakin' LOUD in the 8th row.
"Gotta do whatcha can just to keep your lava light"??


 dmax wrote:
Oh, not at all.

"Every where I go, everyone I know, people need some reason to believe.
I don't know about anyone but me"

The mistake is that familiarity breeds contempt, here. Yes, I've heard this on the Safeway overhead while I'm looking for bananas. But, especially at the time, it was important, with Jackson trying to convey his loneliness and existential crisis using the metaphor of the road. The whole album is about that, of course. And it defines the concept well enough that things coming after it are imitations and spin offs. Now, if you're not listening to the lyrics closely, you're just hearing Muzak while you buy groceries.
 
{#Clap} I couldn't agree more.

Love the guitar!
This whole CD was recorded in various places, including a hotel room and the back of a tour bus (the drum was a cardboard box.)  There's one song ("The Road") that starts out acoustic and seamlessly segués into the live concert version - it still takes my breath away.  And holy wow, check this out:

Wavy Gravy's 75th Birthday
Friday, May 27th, 2011 - 7pm Beacon Theatre, New York City


Featuring:

Jackson Browne
Ani DiFranco
Dr. John
Steve Earle
Bruce Hornsby
Jorma Kaukonen
Steve Kimock
Allison Moorer
Buffy Sainte-Marie
& Surprise Guests!

Say what you will - and I know some of you will! - but this guy is, to me, an icon.



....so better listen closely. I think that, at least in those days, songs are used to transport the lyrics. I think, a lot of of this music is nothing but musical poetry. And most people don't buy groceries, while they are reading a poem...

dmax wrote:

Oh, not at all.

"Every where I go, everyone I know, people need some reason to believe.
I don't know about anyone but me"

The mistake is that familiarity breeds contempt, here. Yes, I've heard this on the Safeway overhead while I'm looking for bananas. But, especially at the time, it was important, with Jackson trying to convey his loneliness and existential crisis using the metaphor of the road. The whole album is about that, of course. And it defines the concept well enough that things coming after it are imitations and spin offs. Now, if you're not listening to the lyrics closely, you're just hearing Muzak while you buy groceries.

Saw this show twice, and to see Lindley, Doerge, Kunkel, Sklar, Heywood, and Kortchmar up on stage with him? That was cool. Bonus? Opening act was the delicious Karla Bonoff, whom I'd never heard of. She was so good, we really weren't caring if Jackson came on or not. She deserved stardom.

 


I saw Jackson Browne and Co on 03/16/77 at Nakano Sun Plaza, Tokyo, Japan - third row stage center... what a great concert !

 Hannio wrote:
The Wonder Bread of rock and roll.
 
Oh, not at all.

"Every where I go, everyone I know, people need some reason to believe.
I don't know about anyone but me"

The mistake is that familiarity breeds contempt, here. Yes, I've heard this on the Safeway overhead while I'm looking for bananas. But, especially at the time, it was important, with Jackson trying to convey his loneliness and existential crisis using the metaphor of the road. The whole album is about that, of course. And it defines the concept well enough that things coming after it are imitations and spin offs. Now, if you're not listening to the lyrics closely, you're just hearing Muzak while you buy groceries.

Saw this show twice, and to see Lindley, Doerge, Kunkel, Sklar, Heywood, and Kortchmar up on stage with him? That was cool. Bonus? Opening act was the delicious Karla Bonoff, whom I'd never heard of. She was so good, we really weren't caring if Jackson came on or not. She deserved stardom.

 ziakut wrote:
Nice tired classic...oh did I say tired? Yep!
 
Love the look of the North Drums setup!  {#Drummer}

Some of the classics, I listen to them now and realize that I really didn't like them that much when they were new... just a matter of taste y'know.
In 17 I'll be 65

In 21 I'll be 69

Or close to it.

And Running On Empty.

The Wonder Bread of rock and roll.
This and "Stay" are my favorite songs by Jackson Browne.
Nice tired classic...oh did I say tired? Yep!
Come on Bill, let's hear it ....