The Pretender (5:52)

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

From The Next Voice You Hear: The Best of Jackson Browne and 25 other releases

This song is about a man who gives up his dreams and lives a life of routine monotony in order to accumulate money. He is the pretender.
Browne’s first wife, Phyllis, committed suicide in the spring of 1976, but in the wake of the tragedy he recorded his commercial breakthrough album, The Pretender. The record climbed into the Top 10 upon its fall 1976 release, going platinum in the spring of 1977.
This appears on the soundtrack of the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus…

Browne said in Rolling Stone, October 16, 2008: “‘The Pretender’ took a long time. It’s not that I worked on it every day; I was reluctant to finish it before I had gotten all there was out of it. Songwriting is a search. Most of my songs set up a bunch of questions, and it takes a while to answer them…Lost in life.

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Albums featuring this track (26)

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  • giuseppecensori

    very good, i like so much..

    23 May 9:38am Reply
  • ralfsu

    I'm going to find myself a girl who can show me what laughter means and we'll fill in the missing colors in each other's paint-by-number dreams. And then we'll put our dark glasses on and we'll make love until our strength is gone, and when the morning light comes streaming in, we'll get up and do it again.

    4 Sep 2014 Reply
  • TheEnchantress

    Pretty much sums up life in general, love ballads that tell a story and this is perfect.

    10 Jul 2013 Reply
  • jaspazak

    come in sit out grab a cold one look at the sky listen to jackson browne life is already better;

    1 May 2013 Reply
  • r-iman

    Must agree with you Oldiesfanlohn.

    21 Jan 2013 Reply
  • FRENCHWAH

    Love it.

    7 Dec 2012 Reply
  • davidmills71

    Seen um way back in 76 and still remember the show,, Fantastic....

    5 Dec 2012 Reply
  • oldiesfanjohn

    Timeless song. Hits close to home,like all JB's songs tend to do.

    31 Oct 2012 Reply
  • NorthernExile

    Brilliant, brilliant track. Hits me hard every time.

    22 Jul 2012 Reply
  • ksol1460

    Another old Laurel Canyon friend. Why doesn't he ever play at Bridge? Neil should invite him.

    29 May 2012 Reply
  • r-iman

    what a great song

    7 May 2012 Reply
  • pacificdust

    Becoming my favorite song

    27 Apr 2012 Reply
  • tomfarcie

    Oldie but goodie.

    16 Apr 2012 Reply
  • supermediadave

    Love it, love it, love it....

    16 Mar 2012 Reply
  • stabcore

    i found the lyrics to this song, folded up inside one of my father's books, after he passed away. never had heard it before. it's a really great song.

    29 Dec 2011 Reply
  • Derek_f

    top track from Jackson with imaginative and insightful lyrics.

    16 Dec 2011 Reply
  • r-iman

    we'll get up and do it again...........................

    15 Dec 2011 Reply
  • holetoledo

    Say it again! Amen!

    28 Apr 2011 Reply
  • reagan0

    35 years on, and this song stills hits as hard as it did when I first heard it. Right in the solar plexus.... erm... maybe that's angina....

    25 Feb 2011 Reply
  • davidbowiegirl

    Good song

    13 Dec 2010 Reply
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