Jackson Browne - The Load Out/Stay

Jackson Browne - The Load Out/Stay

‘The Load-Out’ is a song co-written and performed live by Jackson Browne from his 1977 album Running on Empty. It is a tribute to his roadies and fans. The song was recorded live at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, on August 27, 1977, as part of the tour in support of the album The Pretender. Browne wrote this rambling piece as an affectionate tribute to the roadies, assistants and staff who help him take his show on the road, setting up and taking down his stage sets and moving his instruments (a process known as "the load-out"). He often played it at the end of each performance, usually with his cover of ‘Stay.’

The songs on the Running on Empty album were recorded live in various settings. ‘The Load-Out’ was recorded at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland during a show on August 27, 1977. The song was something Browne had been working on with his band - Danny Kortchmar (guitar), Russ Kunkel (drums), David Lindley (various instruments), and Leland Sklar (bass). They didn't have an arrangement they liked, but when Browne did three encores at the show, they found themselves out of material but still hankering to play. Kunkel suggested they play the song and see what happens. The resulting performance was so good that it made the album. This was just the second time the band played the song in concert.

Jackson Browne

‘The Load-Out’ describes the daily practices of a band and its road crew on a concert tour, and the emotions evoked throughout such an endeavour. The first three verses of the song consist of Browne singing and playing piano with David Lindley playing lap steel guitar. They are later joined by a synthesizer, followed by the rest of the band. Eventually ‘The Load-Out’ segues into an interpretation of Maurice Williams' 1960 hit ‘Stay’, sung by Browne, Rosemary Butler, and Lindley. Lindley sings the falsetto in the second chorus (Rosemary Butler sings in the first).

Many radio stations played ‘The Load-Out’ and ‘Stay’ together as a medley, and, although it wasn't released as a single to the public initially (‘Rosie’ was the original B-side to ‘Stay’), ‘The Load-Out’ charted as a tag-along to ‘Stay’ on the Billboard Hot 100 singles charts, based on airplay. ‘Stay’ debuted on the Hot 100 on June 10, 1978, as a sole A-side, but was listed along with ‘The Load-Out’ on the chart beginning with the August 5, 1978, chart for eight weeks, both showing a peak at No. 20. "Stay" stayed on the Hot 100 for a total of fifteen weeks.

Jackson Browne & Band

Browne was very tight with his road crew, especially Donald "Buddha" Miller, who was both his crew chief and his manager. In a radio interview, he talked about what the roadies went through to earn his respect: "These guys work really hard, and in those days they made practically the minimum wage. They used to drive around, six guys in a camper. They'd be leaving the gig and you'd see them crawling into this little space, getting ready for an eight-hour drive to the next gig."

Speaking with Rolling Stone, Browne described ‘The Load-Out’ as "a love song to the audience and the crew." When it transitions to ‘Stay,’ that's the band asking the audience to stick around because they want to keep playing.

T-Shirt Sale

Labels – Asylum, Elektra
Songwriters – Jackson Browne, Bryan Garofalo
Producer – Jackson Browne


[Part I: The Load Out]
[Verse 1]
Now the seats are all empty
Let the roadies take the stage
Pack it up and tear it down
They're the first to come and last to leave
Working for that minimum wage
They'll set it up in another town
Tonight the people were so fine
They waited there in line
And when they got up on their feet they made the show
And that was sweet
But I can hear the sound
Of slamming doors and folding chairs
And that's a sound they'll never know
[Verse 2]
Now roll them cases out and lift them amps
And haul them trusses down and get 'em up them ramps
'Cause when it comes to moving me
You know you guys are the champs
But when that last guitar's been packed away
You know that I still wanna play
So just make sure you got it all set to go
Before you come for my piano
[Steel Guitar Solo: David Lindley]
[Verse 3]
But the band's on the bus
And they're ready to go
We've got to drive all night and do a show in Chicago
Or Detroit, I don't know
We do so many shows in a row
And these towns all look the same
We just pass the time in the hotel rooms
And wander 'round backstage
'Til those lights come up and we hear that crowd
And we remember why we came
[Verse 4]
Now we got country and western on the bus, R 'n' B
We got disco and eight tracks and cassettes in stereo
And we got rural scenes and magazines
And we got truckers on C.B.
And we got Richard Pryor on the video
We got time to think of the ones we love
While the miles roll away
But the only time that seems too short
Is the time that we get to play
[Verse 5]
People you've got the power over what we do
You can sit there and wait
Or you can pull us through
Come along, sing this song
You know that you can't go wrong
'Cause when that morning sun comes beating down
You're gonna wake up in your town
But we'll be scheduled to appear
A thousand miles away from here
[Part II: Stay]
[Verse 1: Jackson Browne]
People stay just a little bit longer
We wanna play just a little bit longer
Now the promoter don't mind
And the union don't mind
If we take a little time
And we leave it all behind and sing
One more song
[Verse 2: Rosemary Butler]
Oh, won't you stay just a little bit longer
Please, please, please, say you will
Say you will
[Verse 3: Jackson Browne & David Lindley]
Oh, won’t you stay just a little bit longer
Oh, please please stay just a little bit more
Now the promoter don’t mind
And the roadies don’t mind
If we take a little time
And we leave this all behind and sing
One more song
And thank you all again
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