Running On Empty (4:55)

Cover of The Next Voice You Hear: The Best of Jackson Browne

From The Next Voice You Hear: The Best of Jackson Browne and 34 other releases

“Running on Empty” is a song written and performed by American singer-songwriter Jackson Browne.

It is the title track to his 1977 live Running on Empty album, recorded at a concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, on August 27, 1977. A number eleven hit on the Billboard Hot 100 when it was released as a single,

Rolling Stone ranked it at number 492 on its list of the 500 greatest songs of all time and is one of Browne’s signature songs.

The song may be meant to describe the rigors of a musician’s day-to-day life on the road, and its effect on his life as a whole, in connection with the themes of much of the album. But the lyric is more general:

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels —
Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields.
In ‘65 I was seventeen and running up 101
I don’t know where I’m running now, I’m just running on …
The song starts off with an immediate, propulsive backbeat, with the melody carried by piano and throughout laced by David Lindley’s distinctive lap steel guitar work. Browne’s receives vocal back up from Rosemary Butler and Doug Haywood.

The lyric’s ages and years match up with Browne’s:

In ‘69 I was twenty-one and I called the road my own
I don’t know when that road turned onto the road I’m on.
Rolling Stone writer Paul Nelson saw “Running on Empty” as embodying a “tenacious, win/lose duality” and being “what daydreamers have nightmares about”:[3]

You know I don’t even know what I’m hoping to find …

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Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields
In sixty-five I was seventeen and running up one-o-one
I don't know where I'm running now, I'm just running on

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics

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