Song of the Day #4,697: ‘I’ll Do Anything’ – Jackson Browne

Well, that went fast. Three weeks to explore the nearly 50-year career of Jackson Browne, a great 70s singer-songwriter who managed to stay relevant and interesting well into the new millennium.

Unlike my last deep dive subject, Browne’s friend and collaborator Joni Mitchell, his music did not fall off a cliff in the 80s. While I struggled with a couple of Browne’s albums due to their didactic political lyrics, the music was almost always spot on. He expertly evolved his sound without losing the earnest romanticism that made his work special out of the gate.

Following is my personal ranking of Browne’s 14 studio albums. The top two spots aren’t surprising, given that they are the two albums of his I knew and loved before embarking on this journey. But revisiting them in context of his career only deepened my affection.

There isn’t a “bad” album on this list. The top five are truly excellent and the five after that are all records I plan to revisit regularly.

This was a truly rewarding exercise. Thanks for reading along, and particular thanks to Russ, who provided way more details and context than I found the time to unearth!

#1. I’m Alive – 1993
#2. Running On Empty – 1977
#3. Late For the Sky – 1974
#4. For Everyman – 1973
#5. The Pretender – 1976
#6. Hold Out – 1980
#7. Jackson Browne – 1972
#8. Standing in the Breach – 2014
#9. Lawyers in Love – 1983
#10. Looking East – 1996
#11. The Naked Ride Home – 2002
#12. Lives in the Balance – 1986
#13. World in Motion – 1989
#14. Time the Conqueror – 2008

You hold a life there in your hands
You probably don’t know
Somehow your dreams became my plans
Somewhere long ago
Think about the things we’ve done and where we’ve been
Your touch made me a king
I don’t want to live without your love again
I’ll do anything

To make you see what I’m imagining
To know the pleasure your smile can bring
To keep the light from vanishing
I’ll do anything

I fly this airplane upside down
I walk out on the wing
To see you watching from the ground
I’ll do anything
When I see the light upon your upturned face
I can hear the angels sing
Don’t ever let another take my place
I’ll do anything

To make you see what I’m imagining
To know the pleasure your smile can bring
To keep the light from vanishing
I’ll do anything
I make this world a place for you and me
I make your happiness my responsibility
To make this world the world you want to see
I’ll do anything

When I see the light upon your upturned face
I can hear the angels sing
To see that no one ever takes my place
I’ll do anything

To make you see what I’m imagining
To know the pleasure your smile can bring
To keep the light from vanishing
I’ll do anything

6 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,697: ‘I’ll Do Anything’ – Jackson Browne

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Thank you for the deep dive into Browne’s discography. Based on your reviews and rankings, I definitely have some further exploration I need to do on both ends — Browne’s early work in the 70s and some as recently as 2014.

  2. Amy says:

    Loving these deep dives, which are so much more feasible in the age of Apple Music. Like Dana, I have more listening to do before I could begin to offer a ranking of my own.

    Who’s next? 😜

  3. Peg says:

    I also enjoyed reading about an artist I barely knew. Coincidentally yesterday I received my AARP magazine and on page 18 there is a page devoted to Jackson Browne! Pays to be old 😊 I learned a few things—he does Yoga, he grew up in a house that his grandfather built out of river rock and cut granite in California, started writing songs at age 15, and his next album Downhill from everywhere will be out in July. Also his US tour with James Taylor kicks off in May, if COVID restrictions allow. Also I would like to suggest a “deep dive” into our new Rock Hall women inductees Tina Turner and Carol King.

  4. Russ Paris says:

    Thank you for the deep dive into Jackson Browne’s discography. I ran the “Jackson Browne Fans Page” for more than 17 years and most of the comments I received in those years came from very devoted fans. It was really nice to read your comments and get a somewhat “new/outside” perspective on the albums.

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