Sunday Music – The Pretender

Posted on Sun 10/12/2014 by


Today’s music video is The Pretender, played here in this clip by the American singer songwriter Jackson Browne.

Link to Video at You Tube

This video was posted to You Tube by CountryRock2U

I have lost count of the number of times across the years when I have heard a song on the radio, and thought to myself “hey, that’s good,” and then not being told by the announcer either the name of the song or the artist or band’s name. So, I’ve either had to guess the name of the song, think back if I can remember the voice of the singer or band, or wait for the song to be played again. Sometimes, if the song becomes a hit, I might not have to wait long, but on other occasions, it hasn’t been an easy task.

This happened here with this song. I heard it once on late night radio, and then it sank without trace, because here in Australia, it wasn’t a hit at all. I did hear it once or twice again, but again, I was foiled by the announcer as the song was hidden away in a group of the usual four or five in a row, songs that the radio announcers played one after the other, and more often than not, all the titles were at the front end of the play set, so again, you missed out ton the name of the song and also the artist.

Hence, I ended up forgetting about the song, as it slipped away.

Luckily a year later, a song from this same artist did become a minor hit here in Australia.JacksonBrowneThe Pretender

Again on late night radio, the station had a half an hour special on the artist. While the radio is just on in the background as you do other things, you’re not actually paying full attention to what is playing. About half way through this ‘Special’, they played this song and immediately I did listen closely. I knew the special was on Jackson Browne, so now I knew the name of the artist, and if the song was not announced, then at least I had a starting point. Luckily, the announcer did give the name of the song, in this case The Pretender. I already knew of another earlier minor hit he did have here in Australia back in 1972, Doctor My Eyes, and I knew the recent song, Running On Empty, and I liked both of them, so now I could at least track down an album for Jackson Browne.

That following Friday, I visited my regular record shop, and asked my main man there for the album that had Running On Empty on it, thinking this also had The Pretender on it. When I couldn’t find it listed on the album, I asked specifically about that song, and he pulled a copy of the album in question, which had the same title as the song I was seeking, The Pretender.

I was flush at the time, so I actually purchased both albums.

Both of them were more than I expected, great songs, and as I have so often found, there were songs I liked a lot which did not become hits, further reinforcing the fact that there was just so much good music out there, and all you had to do was find it.

This song I have featured today is basically a prediction of the Yuppie, long before that word became a reality. The lyrics are almost cynical in nature, and a commentary of life really, when you just have to do what needs to be done, even though you heart may not be in it. The album was written following the sad passing of his first wife, so there is an undertone for all the songs on the album.

There is probably a good reason as to why the song did not actually become a hit, no matter how good it was. The original recording of the song ran for almost 6 minutes, at a time when a long song for radio play was usually around or even under three minutes in length, so most radio stations would not really consider a song of this length on their lists for songs to be played, and that was probably the main reason behind when I originally did hear the song, on late night radio.

I liked the second of the two albums, but not as much. Running On Empty was a Live album, and even though the songs were nearly all new, they did not have that cutting edge so intensely visible with this earlier album.

The Pretender, the album, was released late in 1976, and I would have got hold of these two albums early in 1978.

This is another shining example of looking for something that took my interest at the time, and then, eventually finding it. That’s one of the things which has influenced my tastes in music throughout my life, and made me all the richer for it.

Posted in: Music, Videos