Jackson Browne – Doctor My Eyes

Jackson Browne – Doctor My Eyes

‘Doctor, My Eyes’ is a 1972 song written and performed by Jackson Browne and included on his debut album Jackson Browne. Featuring a combination of an upbeat piano riff coupled with lyrics about feeling world-weary, the song was a surprise hit, reaching number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in spring 1972, after debuting on the chart at number 80. Browne would not see the chart's Top 10 again until 1982's soundtrack hit ‘Somebody's Baby’, although ‘Running on Empty’ just missed the Top 10, reaching number 11. Billboard ranked ‘Doctor My Eyes’ as the No. 92 song for 1972. In Canada, the song peaked at number four.

Jackson Browne's songs often ask if it's better to see the world through the harsh lens of reality, or to just leave on the rose-colored glasses. He does just that in ‘Doctor My Eyes,’ asking if was unwise to leave his eyes open for so long, as now he must contend with a "slow parade of fears." The song had a very literal inspiration. "I did, in fact, have something happen to my eyes," Browne told Rolling Stone. "They became red, I could barely see - I didn't know what it was. They gave me some drops: 'Keep your eyes shut for a few days.' By the time I wrote this, I could see again. But it was a metaphor for having seen too much, a loss of innocence."

Browne's Southern California musical cohorts David Crosby and Graham Nash sang harmony vocals. Brown was signed to Asylum Records, which was owned by David Geffen. According to Jackson, Geffen asked Nash if he thought there was a single on the album (Browne's first), and Nash picked this one, with the proviso that Browne add a high vocal part, which he did.

‘Doctor My Eyes’ was Jackson Browne's first single. It's far more compact than most of his songs, running a radio-friendly 2:55. It did very well in America and remained a fan favorite, garnering lots of airplay on Classic Rock and Adult Contemporary radio, and often earning a spot on Browne's setlists. Getting that first hit under his belt was satisfying for Browne, whose first recorded album (in 1968) was never released.

Label – Asylum
Songwriter – Jackson Browne
Producers – Jackson Browne, Richard Sanford Orshoff


[Verse 1]
Doctor, my eyes have seen the years
And the slow parade of fears without crying
Now I want to understand
I have done all that I could
To see the evil and the good without hiding
You must help me if you can
Doctor, my eyes
Tell me what is wrong
Was I unwise to leave them open for so long?
[Verse 2]
'Cause I have wandered through this world
And as each moment has unfurled
I've been waiting to awaken from these dreams
People go just where they will
I never noticed them until I got this feeling
That it's later than it seems
Doctor, my eyes
Tell me what you see
I hear their cries
Just say if it's too late for me
Doctor, my eyes
Cannot see the sky
Is this the prize
For having learned how not to cry?
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