I awoke this morning to the news that Jackson Browne has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. I guess that’s why several of his songs have been playing in my head since yesterday evening. It was tough to pick just which song to highlight. I choose this one on the strength of the lyrics alone.
Keep a fire burning in your eye Pay attention to the open sky You never know what will be coming down I don't remember losing track of you You were always dancing in and out of view I must've thought you'd always be around Always keeping things real by playing the clown Now you're nowhere to be found I don't know what happens when people die Can't seem to grasp it as hard as I try It's like a song I can hear playing right in my ear But I can't sing I can't help listening I can't help feeling stupid standing 'round Crying is they ease you down 'Cause I know that you'd rather we were dancing Dancing our sorrow away (Right on Dancing) No matter what fate chooses to play (There's nothing you can do about it anyway) Just do the steps that you've been shown By everyone you've ever known Until the dance becomes your very own No matter how close to yours Another's steps have grown In the end there is one dance you'll do alone Keep a fire for the human race Let your prayers go drifting into space You never know what will be coming down Perhaps a better world is drawing near Just as easily it could all disappear Along with whatever meaning you might have found Don't let the uncertainty turn you around (The world keeps turning around and around) Go on and make a joyful sound Into a dancer you have grown From a seed somebody else has thrown Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own And somewhere between the time you arrive And the time you go May lie a reason you were alive That you'll never know Source: Musixmatch Songwriters: Jackson Browne For A Dancer lyrics © Swallow Turn Music, Wb Music Corp
If my memory is correct (and it just may not be), my brother introduced me to Jackson’s music about 1975 or so. I remember we were working on the roof of the house I grew up in and my parents and I were living in. I had a small radio (this was before the days of “Boom Boxes”) and Redneck Friend was playing. I started laughing at the chorus;
Honey, you shake, I'll rattle, we'll roll on down the line See if we can't get in touch with a very close friend of mine But let me clue you in, it ain't like him to argue or pretend Well, honey let me introduce you to my redneck friend
Naturally that started my brother (always the teacher) to give me an hour-long
lecture, I mean history of Mr. Browne and his music. I was hooked. And I wasn’t the only one.
In 2004, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, and given an honorary doctorate of music by Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. In 2015, Rolling Stone ranked him as 37th in its list of the “100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time“.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackson_Browne