Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne

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Before this California singer-songwriter rode a wave of popularity in the 1970s with laidback country rock songs, he passed through Max’s Kansas City, where he hooked up with the Velvet Underground’s Nico, who recorded three of his songs on her solo debut, Chelsea Girls.


Nico Meets Jackson Browne at Max’s


Jim Fouratt recalled that all the macho painter guys drank at the bar in front while Andy Warhol and his entourage hung out in the back, where the artist sat at the precise spot where he could observe everything. “This beautiful boy, an absolutely, a stunningly beautiful California boy shows up at the bar,” Fouratt said of the time that he, Nico, and Warhol first saw singer-songwriter Jackson Browne. “And we all go, ‘Ahhh.’ ” Warhol, the master passive-aggressive manipulator, asked “Who is that?”—prompting Factory scenester Andrea “Whips” Feldman to jump up from the table to find out. “Word comes back, ‘He’s a singer from California, he’s seventeen. Would you like to meet him?’ ” Fouratt said. “And Nico goes, ‘Mine. Mine.’ She’s already staked him out. Jackson Browne comes back and he’s beautiful, he’s California, he’s sunlight. You know, this is New York, where everyone’s in black—in red lighting, from the neon in the back room—and he invites all of us to come hear him perform the next night.” Browne was playing at the Dom, the bar on St. Mark’s Place where Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable multimedia shows had been staged. After Nico left the Velvet Underground in 1967 to pursue a solo career, she enlisted him to accompany her on guitar. Three of Browne’s songs appeared on Nico’s solo debut, Chelsea Girls, including his classic “These Days.”

From Chapter 18 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore