Song of the Day #4,680: ‘For Everyman’ – Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne brought out the big guns for his sophomore album, 1973’s For Everyman, enlisting a star-studded cast of musical peers. Elton John, David Crosby, Joni Mitchell, Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Bonnie Raitt all make appearances on this collection, a more confident and resonant album than his debut.

Browne also delivered his own versions of two of his most celebrated early compositions. The album starts off with ‘Take It Easy,’ which Browne co-wrote with Glenn Frey, whose Eagles made it a Top 40 hit. And he offers up a plaintive version of ‘These Days,’ previously released by both Nico and Gregg Allman.

Apart from those established standouts, For Everyman offers up a nice selection of thoughtful ballads and a couple of playful, upbeat songs (‘Redneck Friend,’ ‘Ready Or Not’).

Browne also pays more attention to the production this time around. I particularly like how the first and last songs are blended into the tracks immediately following and preceding them, respectively.

That final track, the title cut, is a great one. Written as a response to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s ‘Wooden Ships,’ about a band of dreamers escaping a world wrecked by nuclear holocaust, this song turns its attention to the people left behind.

Everybody I talk to is ready to leave
With the light of the morning
They’ve seen the end coming down long enough to believe
That they’ve heard their last warning
Standing alone
Each has his own ticket in his hand
And as the evening descends
I sit thinking ’bout Everyman

Seems like I’ve always been looking for some other place
To get it together
Where with a few of my friends I could give up the race
And maybe find something better
But all my fine dreams
Well thought out schemes to gain the motherland
Have all eventually come down to waiting for Everyman

Waiting here for Everyman–
Make it on your own if you think you can
If you see somewhere to go I understand
Waiting here for Everyman–
Don’t ask me if he’ll show — baby I don’t know

Make it on your own if you think you can
Somewhere later on you’ll have to take a stand
Then you’re going to need a hand

Everybody’s just waiting to hear from the one
Who can give them the answers
And lead them back to that place in the warmth of the sun
Where sweet childhood still dances
Who’ll come along
And hold out that strong and gentle father’s hand?
Long ago I heard someone say something ’bout Everyman

Waiting here for Everyman–
Make it on your own if you think you can
If you see somewhere to go I understand

I’m not trying to tell you that I’ve seen the plan
Turn and walk away if you think I am–
But don’t think too badly of one who’s left holding sand
He’s just another dreamer, dreaming ’bout Everyman

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,680: ‘For Everyman’ – Jackson Browne

  1. Amy says:

    At first I was amazed he was able to work with such icons before remembering they were all in the same musical “class,” just getting their starts. How wonderful to have such peers as you launch your career.

  2. Dana Gallup says:

    I’ve heard it said that the early 70’s were the best time for music – certainly for the singer/songwriter. Browne was running with a pack of great artists at the peak of their creative energy.

    I definitely need to spend some time with this album and the early albums in Browne’s discography generally.

  3. Peg says:

    I agree with Amy about the amazing artists starring out around the same time.

  4. Russ Paris says:

    The album is also notable for David Lindley’s contributions. He appears on every track and would become an integral part of Jackson’s sound for the next decade. The cover of the album shows Jackson sitting in the courtyard of his childhood home, The Abbey, and early pressings were designed with a cutout so that when the inner jacket was removed, it cleverly showed the same photo without Jackson.

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