Jackson Browne – Somebody’s Baby

I remember hearing this song on Fast Times at Ridgemont High. A good pop song by Jackson in 1982 and it peaked at #7 in the Billboard 100 and #16 in Canada in 1982. It was written by Jackson Browne and Danny Kortchmar.

This was his highest ever charting song.

Jackson Browne recorded the song for the film because he was friends with its writer, Cameron Crowe. The song’s co-writer Danny Kortchmar was also friends with Crowe, and was working on the song “Love Rules” for the film with Don Henley when he came up with the framework for “Somebody’s Baby.” Kortchmar convinced Browne to finish writing the song and record it for the movie.

Browne has called this an “unabashed pop song.” Most musicians would want their most popular songs on their albums, but Browne was OK having it on the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack, despite the advice of his former label boss David Geffen, who told him he was nuts for giving it up.

From Songfacts

This song is about a guy who is infatuated with a girl, and convinces himself that she must have a boyfriend. As he tries to work up the courage to talk to her, he keeps losing confidence by reminding himself that she’s too fine not to be taken.

This was part of a memorable scene in the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High, where it was used to express the feelings of a frustrated teenager. The movie was a huge hit and helped drive the chart success of the song. “Somebody’s Baby” was the only hit from the soundtrack, although “Moving In Stereo” by The Cars was used in a famous scene and also became associated with the film.

Jackson Browne wrote this song with Danny Kortchmar, who played guitar on his Running On Empty and Lives In The Balance albums. Kortchmar had the music and the “must be somebody’s baby” hook. He knew Browne could do something special with the song, so he brought what he had to Jackson, who helped Kortchmar complete it. That’s what I brought to him: all the guitar parts and everything else. In our 2013 interview, Kortchmar explained:

“It was not typical of what Jackson writes at all, that song. But because it was for this movie he changed his general approach and came up with this fantastic song. It’s a brilliant lyric. I think it’s absolutely wonderful. But it’s atypical of him – he wasn’t sure what to make of it himself. He didn’t want to put it on his album that he was making because it was atypical of what he did, but it ended up being something that got requested a lot and he ended up playing it live and taking it to his heart, as it were. And now he plays it all the time.”

Somebody’s Baby

Well, just, a look at that girl with the lights comin’ up in her eyes.
She’s got to be somebody’s baby.
She must be somebody’s baby.
All the guys on the corner stand back and let her walk on by.

She’s got to be somebody’s baby.
She must be somebody’s baby.
She’s got to be somebody’s baby.
She’s so fine.

She’s probably somebody’s only light.
Gonna shine tonight.
Yeah, she’s probably somebody’s baby, all right.

I heard her talkin’ with her friend when she thought nobody else was around.
She said she’s got to be somebody’s baby; she must be somebody’s baby.
Cause when the cars and the signs and the street lights light up the town,

She’s got to be somebody’s baby;
She must be somebody’s baby;
She’s got to be somebody’s baby.
She’s so

She’s gonna be somebody’s only light.
Gonna shine tonight.
Yeah, she’s gonna be somebody’s baby tonight.

I try to shut my eyes, but I can’t get her outta my sight.
I know I’m gonna know her, but I gotta get over my fright.
We’ll, I’m just gonna walk up to her.
I’m gonna talk to her tonight.

Yeah, she’s gonna be somebody’s only light.
Gonna shine tonight.
Yeah, she’s gonna be somebody’s baby tonight.
Gonna shine tonight, make her mine tonight.

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

17 thoughts on “Jackson Browne – Somebody’s Baby”

  1. Man, this song is one of the classic rock radio staples here. It is reaching nuisance level. It’s enlightening that he never meant it as anything but a pop song for a high school movie. I wish our station would play some of his better stuff, instead of this every day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That shows you different regions play different things…wow I don’t hear it too much at all here. Running On Empty is the one here that is played a bunch.
      My personal favorite is the Load Out song.

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      1. I used to hear Running on Empty too much. And they over played Load Out when it was released, so I don’t want to hear that one anymore either. I think my fave JB song is ‘For a Rocker’, which for all I know may be another one he doesn’t take seriously. But it’s fun and catchy, and never got much airplay.

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      2. I haven’t heard “For a Rocker” in years…I just listened to it. It’s funny they pick certain songs and just wear them out by artists. I’ve heard Doctor My Eyes quite a bit also.

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      3. Yes, Doctor My Eyes is another one I don’t need to hear anymore. Sadly, I’d feel that way about For a Rocker too, if it started being overplayed. I don’t understand the corporate radio logic of taking one song and running it into the ground either. Makes no sense to me at all.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. While listening to For A Rocker…I did find one that is not played to death…I don’t think… Rock Me On The Water.
        I would like to do a blog on songs that get played the most…I don’t understand either. If I hear Stairway to Heaven, More Than a Feeling etc…I turn it off.

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      5. That would be a good blog post topic. I’d add ‘Jukebox Hero’ to that list. It and More than a Feeling are probably the most played of any songs here. I don’t know how the poor djs stand hearing them day after day. I just listened to Rock Me on the Water. It sounds too much like his other songs, imo. That’s another criticism I have…that a lot of his songs sound alike. Maybe JB is just not a good fit for me.

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      6. Oh yes Jukebox Hero is one… I’m going to do it… speaking of them… Hot Blooded would fall into that also. This will be fun.
        Rock Me on the Water kinda reminds me of Load Out in parts.

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      7. my faves by him are the long “Load Out/Stay” and “Running on Empty.” I liked his “Lives in the balance” circa 1984 a lot too, but it hardly made it onto radio

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