The Top Three Jackson Browne Greatest Hits Ever - And Why

Jackson Browne is undeniably one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th and 21st centuries who has made an indelible impression on the society, not to mention on me personally. To try to name the top three Jackson Browne greatest hits ever is a bold endeavor to say the least.
3. But I will boldly take this path and say that the #3 greatest hit of his is "Running on Empty."
Why? Because the live recording of the song is one of the best ever, with the catchy rhythm and electric guitar work that just sticks in your head, and because the lyrics catalog what it is like to be a rock star on the road. These lines in the song say a lot: "In '69 I was 21 and called the road my own. I don't know when the road turned onto the road I'm on." It's a song that I could always listen to again willingly to immerse myself in the texture of it.
2. #2 on my list used to be #1 but alas it is now #2 - "For a Dancer."
The reason why - it's one of the most haunting songs of deep loss about a dancer who died but who left a legacy of joy and the love of life. The lyrics are poetically beautiful in the extreme, and the opening lines of the song are a prophetic warning of the future: "Keep a fire burning in your eye. Pay attention to the open sky. You never know what will be coming down." Talk about lyrics that capture attention!! Though the end of the song is bleak and depressing, what else could it be when the song is about losing a person to death that you loved?
1. Which brings me to the #1 hit - "Barricades of Heaven."
The reason: Here is a magical combination of melody, lyrics and artistic musicianship that outlines Jackson's start in music in Southern California that captures the feeling of those days, but the real essence of the song is in the chorus lyrics: "Better bring your own redemption when you come to the Barricades of Heaven where I'm from." No one else is forgiving him for what he had to do to protect the world of art he created - and he willingly paid a price as the song shows. Masterful music and lyrics - a work of genius.
Even if you don't agree with what I have stated as the top three Jackson Browne greatest hits ever, I think you'd agree that the man is one of the best singer/songwriters of all time.

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