[ ]   [ ]   [ ]                        [ ]      [ ]   [ ]
Jackson Browne — Lives in the Balance
Album: Lives in the Balance
Avg rating:
6.4

Your rating:
Total ratings: 432









Released: 1986
Length: 4:04
Plays (last 30 days): 1
I've been waiting for something to happen
For a week or a month or a year
With the blood in the ink of the headlines
And the sound of the crowd in my ear
You might ask what it takes to remember
When you know that you've seen it before
Where a government lies to a people
And a country is drifting to war

And there's a shadow on the faces
Of the men who send the guns
To the wars that are fought in places
Where their business interest runs

On the radio talk shows and the T.V.
You hear one thing again and again
How the U.S.A. stands for freedom
And we come to the aid of a friend
But who are the ones that we call our friends--
These governments killing their own?
Or the people who finally can't take any more
And they pick up a gun or a brick or a stone
There are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire

There's a shadow on the faces
Of the men who fan the flames
Of the wars that are fought in places
Where we can't even say the names

They sell us the President the same way
They sell us our clothes and our cars
They sell us every thing from youth to religion
The same time they sell us our wars
I want to know who the men in the shadows are
I want to hear somebody asking them why
They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
But they're never the ones to fight or to die
And there are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire
Comments (89)add comment
Well, here's a cut I prefer the live version to the studio version (9 vs 8) though the comments on this took a break for about 10 years....sadly some of those older comments seem too fresh in my memory, probably cuz that's when I used to be on RP a lot. 

BnR - you guys rock, musically and as people...so Long Live RP and BnR!!
Hey! I think I'm understanding a theme in the past few songs ...

VOTE 2020.
The more things change… 💔

 
I was introduced to this through RP - thanks again, Bill and Rebecca! First few times I heard it, it was playing in the background and I found myself wandering over to see which Bruce Cockburn album it was from. I only know a few of Browne's Top 40 songs from over the years, and had no idea he could be such a heavy hitter lyrically. Scary that 40+ years later it still reads as "current content" from the news.
 cjg wrote:
ChardRemains wrote:
Lyrics rock. Music sux. What's with the freakin' pan pipes, jeeesh!
I've gotta agree. Richie Havens does an excellent version of this off his '94 CD "Cuts to the Chase" that gets rid of the sappy sound and gives the lyrics the urgency they deserve.
 
I wonder why this protest song, written at a time when the Reagan administration was engaged in an illegal war in Nicaragua which they funded by selling arms to Iran AND using the CIA to import and sell cocaine with the proceeds DURING Nancy's War On Drugs (tm), uses Latin American instruments and musical influences.

Inquiring minds....
 charliemusicfan wrote:
Yes, I agree.  There have been many articles online about how the incident never happened.  It's too bad because Browne has to live with this forever.  In these days of "me too" when so much that is reported about what men have done to women is true it's important that when a man is wronged that the truth comes out.  The more research I do on this onlne the more I see that Browne is not just "not guilty" bit he is innocent.  
 

Let's talk about art ~~~ for more on that , please search garbage, click bait! 
This Cat's work is an American Literature treasure .

His early introspective lyrics are an iconic cultural period snapshot!
Saturate Before Using
Most excellent Ballad.
more Peruvian Pan flute Please!
Yes, I agree.  There have been many articles online about how the incident never happened.  It's too bad because Browne has to live with this forever.  In these days of "me too" when so much that is reported about what men have done to women is true it's important that when a man is wronged that the truth comes out.  The more research I do on this onlne the more I see that Browne is not just "not guilty" bit he is innocent.  
 h8rhater wrote:

Thanks kencanuck, this is correct:

Here is a statement made by Lt. John Miehle of the Santa Monica Police Department in November 1992:"The Santa Monica Police Department went to the house where Jackson Browne lives regarding a possible disturbance. We resolved the situation in about five minutes. There was never any assault. There are no charges pending and no prosecution sought by or intended by the District Attorney. It is this department's intention that no citizen, regardless of who she is, suffer any kind of abuse, whether it be domestic violence or any other kind of assault. But in this case, absolutely no assault occurred. Our investigators tell us nothing happened. Nobody has even alleged that Daryl Hannah was even touched. If they had, we'd be investigating. We're not hiding anything. The press is trying to make more out of this than there really is, and it's unfair, not just to Browne, but to us. We did our job, and repeat, no crime occurred here. This whole thing is ridiculous."

...and please don't say that the police took sides.  If they were to do so, which side do you think they'd take.  That of the liberal rocker or the beautiful movie starlet?

 
That's good to hear. Never heard this before, thanks. The pit of vile the media sinks into is bottomless.
 kencanuck wrote:
It never happened. Stop passing along tabloid gossip as the truth. Daryl Hannah recanted the accusations because there was no evidence. Police were there the night of the supposed incident and are on record that NOTHING happened.

Tabloids write anything and ruin a human being's reputation. It's been over 15 years and people are still repeating these accusations. Were you there? Do you know the full background? Let's say horrible things about you and get enough people to repeat it over and over so that you can never live it down. How would you like that? Twit.

masterhead wrote:
I don't care that much for him since I learned that he is a women beater. The only reason Hanna denied it is he could continue his political agenda.
 

 
Thanks kencanuck, this is correct:

Here is a statement made by Lt. John Miehle of the Santa Monica Police Department in November 1992:"The Santa Monica Police Department went to the house where Jackson Browne lives regarding a possible disturbance. We resolved the situation in about five minutes. There was never any assault. There are no charges pending and no prosecution sought by or intended by the District Attorney. It is this department's intention that no citizen, regardless of who she is, suffer any kind of abuse, whether it be domestic violence or any other kind of assault. But in this case, absolutely no assault occurred. Our investigators tell us nothing happened. Nobody has even alleged that Daryl Hannah was even touched. If they had, we'd be investigating. We're not hiding anything. The press is trying to make more out of this than there really is, and it's unfair, not just to Browne, but to us. We did our job, and repeat, no crime occurred here. This whole thing is ridiculous."

...and please don't say that the police took sides.  If they were to do so, which side do you think they'd take.  That of the liberal rocker or the beautiful movie starlet?


It never happened. Stop passing along tabloid gossip as the truth. Daryl Hannah recanted the accusations because there was no evidence. Police were there the night of the supposed incident and are on record that NOTHING happened.

Tabloids write anything and ruin a human being's reputation. It's been over 15 years and people are still repeating these accusations. Were you there? Do you know the full background? Let's say horrible things about you and get enough people to repeat it over and over so that you can never live it down. How would you like that? Twit.

masterhead wrote:
I don't care that much for him since I learned that he is a women beater. The only reason Hanna denied it is he could continue his political agenda.
 


Way to go JB!
Gregorama wrote:
Now over 1800 dead in Iraq. No WMDs yet. At least 4 more marines killed yesterday...why? Shrub pedals on. Support our troops. Keep them alive by bringing them home.
RIGHT ON !
More Jackson Browne! Thanks RP! :notworthy:
Yep.
mojoman wrote:
Fight the Islamo-fascists now or later, but fight them you will. They are dedicated to your utter annihilation. What do you propose to do about it?
Have you ever had an original thought in your life, or do you merely parrot whatever the scary monsters on Fox and talk radio are telling you to think?
mojoman wrote:
Yeah, with the line about "governments killing their own" obviously referring to Saddam Hussein.
No. The US and the UK killing their own.
I agree that it's eerie how this song can still voice a contemporary political view point 20 years or so after it was originally released. But, man, it just seems soooo lame to me. Especially when considering that he can write gems like "Love Needs a Heart".
Perhaps we should fuel their hope and support their dignity so they will want to do more than blow themselves and others up. Maybe we should implement a real energy plan to starve the totalitarian dictators who distract their subjects by fomenting hatred of the U.S. and other Western nations. :frustrated: mojoman wrote:
Fight the Islamo-fascists now or later, but fight them you will. They are dedicated to your utter annihilation. What do you propose to do about it?
Gregorama wrote:
Support our troops. Keep them alive by bringing them home.
Fight the Islamo-fascists now or later, but fight them you will. They are dedicated to your utter annihilation. What do you propose to do about it?
matt832 wrote:
There is little here that can't be applied to today's world. JB must be experiencing a strong case of déjà vu....
Yeah, with the line about "governments killing their own" obviously referring to Saddam Hussein.
There is little here that can't be applied to today's world. JB must be experiencing a strong case of déjà vu....
I've been waiting for something to happen For a week or a month or a year With the blood in the ink of the headlines And the sound of the crowd in my ear You might ask what it takes to remember When you know that you've seen it before Where a government lies to a people And a country is drifting to war And there's a shadow on the faces Of the men who send the guns To the wars that are fought in places Where their business interest runs On the radio talk shows and the t.v. You hear one thing again and again How the u.s.a. stands for freedom And we come to the aid of a friend But who are the ones that we call our friends-- These governments killing their own? Or the people who finally can't take any more And they pick up a gun or a brick or a stone There are lives in the balance There are people under fire There are children at the cannons And there is blood on the wire There's a shadow on the faces Of the men who fan the flames Of the wars that are fought in places Where we can't even say the names They sell us the president the same way They sell us our clothes and our cars They sell us every thing from youth to religion The same time they sell us our wars I want to know who the men in the shadows are I want to hear somebody asking them why They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are But they're never the ones to fight or to die And there are lives in the balance There are people under fire There are children at the cannons And there is blood on the wire
IMO, it's a great song with a meaningful message. And I think it's more appropos now than when it was written.
This is an amazing song. I listened to it a few times just afte 9/11, and I thought that at that time it had regained much of it's relevancy. In fact this entire album is fantastic, though not all the songs deal with politics.
Spliff wrote:
Keep your head in the sand, it's easier not to think.
I prefer to think for myself, instead of blindly following Markos Zuniga or Noam Chomsky or selling out to George Soros.
if you want politics-free music, listen to mozart or some other instrumental. this song has great lyrics, but the tune is 80's-poor.
It's musical merits aside (and I think it's fine as a song), thank goodness someone in the arts has the guts to say what is patently obvious to anyone with enough gray matter to be paying attention. John Fogerty's Deja Vu was another good song with a message relevant to the times... U.S. Marine Vietnam 1969-70
ChardRemains wrote:
Lyrics rock. Music sux. What's with the freakin' pan pipes, jeeesh!
I've gotta agree. Richie Havens does an excellent version of this off his '94 CD "Cuts to the Chase" that gets rid of the sappy sound and gives the lyrics the urgency they deserve.
Spliff wrote:
Keep your head in the sand, it's easier not to think.
It's not about ignoring issues, it's about being sick of hearing political rants. Musically, this tune is just tedious complaining. Not worthy of RP.
Interesting. This song castigates a US govt that makes friends with tyrants. So Jackson Brown approves us deposing Saddam, eh?
drekar wrote:
And I still think the song is terrible, regardless of message. :crashcomp:
Agreed, it's just a bad, dated song.
Still a 10...
The events of the last week has provided the definitive word. Anyone want to debate politics today?
drekar wrote:
Not that I disagree with the message, but the song just plain sucks. A pity. :headshake:
And I still think the song is terrible, regardless of message. :crashcomp:
Baby_M wrote:
If I want antiwar commentary, I'll go to Daily Kos or DU or antiwar.com. RP is a radio station, and I suspect most people come here for the music. Don't know about you all, but I prefer my music in a politics-free zone.
Keep your head in the sand, it's easier not to think.
Now over 1800 dead in Iraq. No WMDs yet. At least 4 more marines killed yesterday...why? Shrub pedals on. Support our troops. Keep them alive by bringing them home.
Gregorama wrote:
The message is that war kills the innocent for the interests of the privileged. . . more than 1,700 U.S. Service Men & Women killed in Iraq, many of whom enlisted in the service to get out of poverty and to get an education . . . waged because of lies. . . . patriots who oppose this phony war, . . . blah blah blah
If I want antiwar commentary, I'll go to Daily Kos or DU or antiwar.com. RP is a radio station, and I suspect most people come here for the music. Don't know about you all, but I prefer my music in a politics-free zone.
Excellent and underplayed album from a true songwriter.
Kinda surprised at the low ratings for this one. This was quite an ambitious album, and really not a very commercial one compared to his previous work. Can't help thinking he may have been at least somewhat influenced by Bruce Cockburn's "Stealing Fire" from a couple of years earlier, in terms of style and content here.
Wow, that is one awful song. I remember thinking how bad it was back then, and it's good to know that another 60s/70s hack musician is still just as irrelevant today.
There's a video somewhere of Jackson doing this song with Crosby, Nash and David Lindley. I'm pretty sure it's sans pan flutes... anyhow, it's really amazing. I wish I could remember where I saw that.
Pyro wrote:
Thank you! People should not be naieve enough to believe everything they read...particularly in some dumb tabloid. I say, listen to the music without judgement of the performer. You stand a lot more to gain.
Sorry, but i think you do need to consider the person who wrote the lyrics to some degree. Think of the Michael Jackson song "Man in the Mirror." Do those lyrics seem quite the same after knowing that he does inappropriate things with young teens? (not exactly sure what he has done, but even some of the legal things seem wrong.) Having said that, i like this song and most of Jackson Browne's work. I am just a little leary of much of it he really lives out.
Steelhead wrote:
What is the message......I don't get it. :^o
The message is that war kills the innocent for the interests of the privileged. Kinda like there have been more than 1,700 U.S. Service Men & Women killed in Iraq, many of whom enlisted in the service to get out of poverty and to get an education--but they're dead now. News flash, 6 more Marines killed today, yet Cheney maintains that the insurgents are on the ropes. In what universe? Support the troops by bringing them home from Bush's war, waged because of lies. America also belongs to the patriots who oppose this phony war, and their numbers are growing daily. Any questions?
Not that I disagree with the message, but the song just plain sucks. A pity. :headshake:
Way too apropos today...
Bill, great follow up to World in Motion!
Thanks Bill! Big fan of Jackson Browne here in Monterey. . :yell: JB was always one of the loudest when it came to change, a better world, challenging authority. And yeah, the pan pipes... the Latin American flavor... inspired by the times and all the dirty, secret, little wars the U.S. was becoming more and more recognized for--especiallmente con nuestros vecinos en el sur. Just recently picked up the No Nukes CD set, from Do Re Mi in Carmel. Great concert/benefit organized to confront the nuclear industry... where Jackson sings a haunting and beautiful ballad. As soon as I figure out how to upload music... I'll be pitching some Jackson Browne. Cool, thanks again Bill. Maybe I'll see if I can't get this Lives In The Balance played nice and loud over the high school campus where I work: All the armed forces recruiters who are storming the campus these days for new fodder for the cannons will love it.
Great Song written in the 80's to protest the Reagan administrations flaunting of law and life. Current again with the Idiot Bush running rough shod over the world. Great programing to have it follow World in Motion. :)
ChardRemains wrote:
Lyrics rock. Music sux. What's with the freakin' pan pipes, jeeesh!
I imagine it has to do with the native music of Central America....the region this song is commenting on and US policies.
bwanab wrote:
I agree. The message is spot on, but I don't really like the medium in this case.
What is the message......I don't get it. :^o
I'm a Jackson Browne fan but I think this song totally sucks.. Let's hear "The Naked Ride Home" - it's a thousand times better than this piece of drek!
Pyro wrote:
Definitely your loss.
And the wife's too, of course. Besides that, let's all admit it . This is a terrible song.
ChardRemains wrote:
Lyrics rock. Music sux. What's with the freakin' pan pipes, jeeesh!
I agree. The message is spot on, but I don't really like the medium in this case.
Running on empty.
freddyfender wrote:
Spoken like a true apostle of G.W. There are many options between living the life of a capitalist pig and a homeless person. There are very few things in life that are black and white. Our present Commander in Thief personifies the problems that arise when one is unable to see the nuances that exist in every situation. People view him as steadfast and resolute because he sees everything in black and white. The reality is that he is too stupid to see the many shades of gray that exist, especially in the complex issues facing the world today. He is unable to visualize more than one move in advance, and has no concept of the fact that for every action he takes, consequences exist.
Yup. Not all Texans love him. Note that Negriponte, our current ambassador to Iraq, was also ambassador to the repressive regimes (remember death squads?) in Nicaragua, back when this song was written. Bad apples just seem to keep popping up in Shrub's administration.
Lyrics rock. Music sux. What's with the freakin' pan pipes, jeeesh!
freddyfender wrote:
Spoken like a true apostle of G.W. There are many options between living the life of a capitalist pig and a homeless person. There are very few things in life that are black and white. Our present Commander in Thief personifies the problems that arise when one is unable to see the nuances that exist in every situation. People view him as steadfast and resolute because he sees everything in black and white. The reality is that he is too stupid to see the many shades of gray that exist, especially in the complex issues facing the world today. He is unable to visualize more than one move in advance, and has no concept of the fact that for every action he takes, consequences exist.
:clap:
eric wrote:
Sorry, just can't get past the wife-beating thing.
Definitely your loss.
Franlrc wrote:
Thank you for posting that. The people who go on about this seem to be the same people who bash Clinton. People who make music or otherwise contribute to society (and I think Clinton contributed and still contributes greatly) are just as human as anyone else. IMHO, unless you have direct personal negative contact with a public person, 1st amendment aside, you have no moral right to contribute to the general defamation of that person. Particularly disgusting and morally reprehensible is just repeating and representing as "true" something you read in a tabloid or saw on tabloid-TV (e.g. Fox) about the public person's interactions with their lovers, wives, husbands or friends. Ergo, if you are not affected personally, or the fate of helpless individuals, children, seniors or animals are at stake, mind your own business!
Thank you! People should not be naieve enough to believe everything they read...particularly in some dumb tabloid. I say, listen to the music without judgement of the performer. You stand a lot more to gain.
I'd like to hear Al Stewart cover this.... :whistle: ...............(crickets chirping)................ boy, it's quiet in here.
:P :frustrated: :moon: :butt: :fire: :puke: :verymad:
horrible
This song is so gooooooooodddd
DBCinCA wrote:
You're too kind. Our current president is an utter failure, a puppet, a disgrace. This song continues to resonate, unfortunately, thanks to W.
:clap:
laozilover wrote:
I get chills hearing this song. I am surprised that today is the first time I have heard it on RP. I would think it would be a "natural".
yeah, it does seem a natural here. thanks for playing it R&B!
I don't care that much for him since I learned that he is a women beater. The only reason Hanna denied it is he could continue his political agenda.
Same as it ever was. Such perceptive lyrics. Same war, different location...
This is probably my favorite JB tune. Timeless lyrics (unfortunately). I love the pan pipe and harp in this :nyah:
I get chills hearing this song. I am surprised that today is the first time I have heard it on RP. I would think it would be a "natural". (Maybe the conventions triggered Bill into dragging it out?) :-k
freddyfender wrote:
Spoken like a true apostle of G.W. There are many options between living the life of a capitalist pig and a homeless person. There are very few things in life that are black and white. Our present Commander in Thief personifies the problems that arise when one is unable to see the nuances that exist in every situation. People view him as steadfast and resolute because he sees everything in black and white. The reality is that he is too stupid to see the many shades of gray that exist, especially in the complex issues facing the world today. He is unable to visualize more than one move in advance, and has no concept of the fact that for every action he takes, consequences exist.
You're too kind. Our current president is an utter failure, a puppet, a disgrace. This song continues to resonate, unfortunately, thanks to W.
Eulogy wrote:
Valid? Yes. Just alot of talk that will never have any real effect? Absolutely. Really wanna rebel? Burn all your stuff, quit your job, and go be homeless.
Spoken like a true apostle of G.W. There are many options between living the life of a capitalist pig and a homeless person. There are very few things in life that are black and white. Our present Commander in Thief personifies the problems that arise when one is unable to see the nuances that exist in every situation. People view him as steadfast and resolute because he sees everything in black and white. The reality is that he is too stupid to see the many shades of gray that exist, especially in the complex issues facing the world today. He is unable to visualize more than one move in advance, and has no concept of the fact that for every action he takes, consequences exist.
Answer: NO. Both Jackson and Darryl have denied those old tabloid reports at one time or another.
Thank you for posting that. The people who go on about this seem to be the same people who bash Clinton. People who make music or otherwise contribute to society (and I think Clinton contributed and still contributes greatly) are just as human as anyone else. IMHO, unless you have direct personal negative contact with a public person, 1st amendment aside, you have no moral right to contribute to the general defamation of that person. Particularly disgusting and morally reprehensible is just repeating and representing as "true" something you read in a tabloid or saw on tabloid-TV (e.g. Fox) about the public person's interactions with their lovers, wives, husbands or friends. Ergo, if you are not affected personally, or the fate of helpless individuals, children, seniors or animals are at stake, mind your own business!
(8?ᅵ wrote:
I'm going to rebel by voting straight republican. :eek: The only way out is through....
No so. There is another kind of out: down.
As usual the "press" (read tabloids) tell people what to think; Did Jackson Browne really beat up Darryl Hannah? (Also known as "the question that won't go away".) Answer: NO. Both Jackson and Darryl have denied those old tabloid reports at one time or another. The fact is that Jackson telephoned the police that night. The details of that infamous night will never be known by anyone except for the two parties involved. Jackson is a very private individual and we should all respect his desire for privacy. Whatever really happened that night is none of our business. To those that are stuck for an answer when someone raises the question, I usually respond with a statement about not believing what you read in the tabloids and being amazed how otherwise intelligent people can believe the kind of trash they read there. This issue was raised again with respect to questions about Joni Mitchell's song "Not To Blame" from her 1994 album TURBULENT INDIGO, which not only accused Jackson of beating up Darryl Hannah but implies that he drove his first wife to suicide. Jackson's public response was that Joni hasn't been very well and has lots of problems. And unfortunately, the issue was raised yet again in a 2003 made for TV tabloid film about John F. Kennedy Jr., whom Darryl dated after breaking up with Jackson. Both Jackson and Darryl issued public statements against the show, with Darryl going so far as to say not one thing about any reference to her was accurate. Jackson threatened legal action if it was rebroadcast without editing out the reference to him. https://www.jrp-graphics.com/jb/jbfaq.html
Originally Posted by thrazzle: Snap out of it! Everyone has had problems in their life. Even you. :frustrated: Jackson Browne has done a lot of great work in recent time. He has assisted a lot of young artists from very poor countries like Mali. He has been a great benefactor to those who otherwise might even starve but now have a promising music career from which we can all benefit. :clap:
Sorry, helping out starving musicians doesn't make up for beating women IMO.
Originally Posted by bozobit: Musically smart, politically dumb. It's really very tiresome.
I have to disagree. It's musically dumb, too.
Snap out of it! Everyone has had problems in their life. Even you. :frustrated: Jackson Browne has done a lot of great work in recent time. He has assisted a lot of young artists from very poor countries like Mali. He has been a great benefactor to those who otherwise might even starve but now have a promising music career from which we can all benefit. :clap:
I can\'t hear or think of Jackson Brown without knowing that he was a professional Darryl Hannah beater. He sucks.
I\'d love to hear Cockburn\'s \'If I Had A Rocket Launcher\' follow this... or mebbe \'Cows With Guns\' for a different direction.
Originally Posted by Eulogy: Valid? Yes. Just alot of talk that will never have any real effect? Absolutely. Really wanna rebel? Burn all your stuff, quit your job, and go be homeless.
I'm going to rebel by voting straight republican. :eek: The only way out is through....
Valid? Yes. Just alot of talk that will never have any real effect? Absolutely. Really wanna rebel? Burn all your stuff, quit your job, and go be homeless.
Musically smart, politically dumb. It\'s really very tiresome.
never more timely and appropriate :clap:
Originally Posted by KevinM: Dump the pan pipe and it might be a pretty decent song.
Could use a bit of updating, musically. Otherwise, a lyric still relevant - unfortunately. :cool:
Dump the pan pipe and it might be a pretty decent song.
Since no one has commented - I feel Jackson Browne is great. His early work brings back fond memories. Fantastic guitar work and Inca flute on this one. Thanks
Sorry, just can\'t get past the wife-beating thing.
You know, its depressing to think that this song, which is, what, 15 years old, is still as relevant today as it was then...