Jackson Browne wrote “These Days” when he was only sixteen years old. Within two years, he had left California for New York, was backing up The Velvet Underground on guitar, and was sleeping with Nico, who would record “These Days” on her solo album Chelsea Girl.
I remember watching The Royal Tenenbaums and hating Wes Anderson for including one of my favorite songs on the soundtrack to a movie about such vapid people. I wish Wes Anderson had worse taste in music, because I hate his films. See my post on The Mamas & The Papas for more vitriolic discourse on Wes Anderson.
And read this excellent article, about Anderson’s mishandling of race from Slate.com:
Browne, only 18, made some recordings, which came to be known as the Nina Demos, while crashing on couches and playing music in New York in 1967. “These Days” was originally called “I’ve Been Out Walking.” It’s amazing that such a young kid could write this song, from the point of view of someone living with unbearable regret and loss.
Browne later recorded the song as “These Days” on his second album For Everyman, for which he enlisted many friends to contribute: Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Elton John, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Joni Mitchell, and even Bonnie Raitt and David Crosby on harmony.
Others covered the song throughout the 1970s. Here are a few:
As an aside, Ian Matthews played with Fairport Convention in the late sixties, and released some awesome stuff in the early seventies. Here is he is doing an accapella cover of The Crystals’ “Da Doo Ron Ron.”
And Neil Young’s “Tell My Why.”
Here’s a video of Browne live in 1977, singing his 1972 hit “Doctor My Eyes” off his eponymous debut album, and segueing into “These Days.”
It’s funny, my first memory of Jackson Browne was that he was Daryl Hannah’s boyfriend. He apparently took a shine to her when she was at one of his shows and still in high school, and recruited his roadies to bring her backstage. They dated from 1978 to 1992. Here they are with Bonnie Raitt.
I really loved Daryl Hannah in Splash when I was a kid.
To think, there was once a time when Tom Hanks was still bearable to watch.