Running On Empty

This title track to Jackson Browne’s 1977 album opens with the speaker looking back on life, “the road rushing under [his] wheels” as he wonders how the road he once called his own turned into the road on which he’s now running empty. With lyrics like “Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels / I don't know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels / Look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through / Looking into their eyes I see them running too,” the song speaks to the challenges of living on the road—an experience with which most musicians are familiar—but the song captures the challenges of living, period. At some point we’re all “running on empty / running on, running blind.” Browne is said to have written this song during his drive into the studio while he was recording the album The Pretenders. He once told Rolling Stone magazine, “I was always driving around with no gas in the car. I just never bothered to fill up the tank because—how far was it anyway? Just a few blocks.”