He was born on October 8, 1948 in Heidelberg, Germany, the son of a U.S. serviceman. His father wrote for the Stars and Stripes newspaper. He began playing the guitar, writing music, and singing folk songs when his family eventually settled in Fullerton, California. Upon graduation in 1966, he had a short stint with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. After a few months, he moved to New York City and settled in Greenwich Village. He became a staff writer reporting on musical events for Elektra Records. Finding his way back to Southern California a few years later, he became part of the L.A. rock scene. A prolific songwriter, many of his friends recorded his songs. The list includes Linda Ronstadt, the Eagles' Glenn Frey, Joan Baez, Greg Allman, and Tom Rush.
Rolling Stone called him "a new face to look for" and praised his "mind-boggling melodies." In 1971, he signed with David Geffen's Asylum Records. His first album was known as Saturate Before Using because of the cover art. It showed up one day at our house when my brother came home on leave from the Air Force. It blew my socks off. I played it so many times, you could hear both sides at once. I downloaded it on iTunes this morning and am listening to it as I write this. To quote a song title from that LP, "This is My Opening Farewell."
By the time his third album, Late for the Sky, was released in 1974, he had developed a reputation for memorable melody, insightful and often very personal lyrics, and a talent for his arrangements. To date he has sold over 18 million units.
I watched him deliver one of the finest two-and-a-half-hour concerts I have seen in some time to a bunch of baby boomers last night. Man, there were a lot of bald guys with untucked designer shirts and women with tie-dye dresses!
In between songs, I was struck by the ease in which he weaves his stories to explain the history of the song, combined with his obvious gratitude, humility, and a voice that has actually improved since I last saw him in 1982. (He played for three-and-a-half hours back then!) "Doctor My Eyes" touched me exactly like it did in 1971 when I was 14 years old. I left feeling there is hope for mankind.
He would have kept going, but the venue-a fancy winery in Woodinville, Washington-has rules against going the extra mile and delivering uncommon musical value! I won't mention the name, but their initials are "Ste. Michelle." Don't get me started! Until said winery pulled the plug, he had everyone dancing and singing along for the last five songs.
In my journal this morning I wrote: The brilliance of his lyrics is matched only by an economy of melody that's focused and stirring. His true genius lies in keen observation of the human condition filtered through sincerity, honesty and humility. He touches our head and heart with uncommon messages of Life, Love and Loss. A mentor of mine said to me one day, "Take up a cause, make love to a woman and write a book." This guy has done all three, numerous times...
Clyde Jackson Browne is "Sensational at Sixty-Six." He keeps "Rocking Me on the Water"! I hope I have half the passion and commitment to my art as he does when I get to 40-plus-26-years young.
Mark Matteson gives over 75 presentations each year. Book him now to secure the inspiring message that will spark your group's success! To watch Mark's demo video, go to:
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