Rosie And Me


Last night, while driving home after dropping off a very dear friend at Sri Petaling, it occurred to me that – even after almost thirty years – I still know the lyrics to a remarkably special song – every syllable, every word, every line of it! No, the song is not ‘Baa! Baa! Black Sheep’ nor is it ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’. Instead, it’s a song by Jackson Browne called ‘Rosie’.

What? Rosie? Never head of it!

Those born after 1969 may not know the song; they may not even know who Jackson Browne is. But ‘Rosie’ is one of those songs that – if you knew it – would immediately become part of your psyche and change you forever. If you do not know this song, and if you do have a few minutes to spare, do try looking it up on the Internet. Or better still, try and get the CD. The album is called ‘Running on Empty’ by Jackson Browne.

I first heard ‘Rosie’ at the Malaysia Hall when Hamidi played it on his high-zoot stereo equipment. I was immediately blown away by the honesty of the lyrics and the song’s simple but haunting melody line. I ended up playing it over and over again until Hamidi got so fed-up that he threatened to wring my neck and then set me on fire if I didn’t stop and go back to my room immediately.

Since Hamidi was over six feet tall and about just as wide, I complied – albeit reluctantly. So, I went back to my room with ‘Rosie’ still playing in my head. And I guess it has never stopped playing ever since.

So, what is ‘Rosie’ all about? What’s so special about ‘Rosie’? Here are the lyrics. You tell me…

(by Jackson Browne)

she was standing at the load-in
when the trucks load out
she was sniffing all around
like a half-grown female pup
she wasn’t hard to talk to
looked like she had no where to go
so I gave her a pass
so she could go in to see the show

and I sat her down right next to me
and I got her a beer
as I mixed that sound on stage
so the band could hear
the more I watched her watch them play
the less I thought of of stay
as they walked off stage
that drummer swept that girl away

Rosie you’re alright
you wear my ring
when you hold me tight
Rosie that’s my thing
when you turn out the lights
I gotta hand it to me…
looks like its me and you again tonight

well I should have known right from the start
she’d come for a star
should have told my imagination
not to run too far
of all the times that I’ve been burned
by now you’d think I’d have learned
that its who you look like
…not who you are

Guys! Doesn’t this song come uncomfortably close to summing up the story of our lives? Ladies! Maybe you would want to make your man listen (or better still, sing) this song as often a you can so that they’ll realise how lucky they are to have you in their lives.

For me, it is the last verse that gets to me most. Here it is again:

well I should have known right from the start
she’d come for a star
should have told my imagination
not to run too far
of all the times that I’ve been burned
by now you’d think I’ve learned
that its who you look like
…not who you are

12 thoughts on “Rosie And Me

  1. Actually..there is a sequel to the Rosie story.
    JB was always pretty maudlin but that song was a mirror of his journey.It ain’t ez for a musician to make it..and unless he does very2 difficult for him to get a guy to wanna be his dad in law.
    The Boss aptly and in his more gutsy days b4 he started golfing with Bruce did “Rosalita”..
    Bit of the lyrics >>>
    Now I know your mama she don’t like me ’cause I play in a rock and roll band
    And I know your daddy he don’t dig me but he never did understand
    Papa lowered the boom, he locked you in your room
    I’m comin’ to lend a hand
    I’m comin’ to liberate you, confiscate you, I want to be your man
    Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny
    But now you’re sad, your mama’s mad
    And your papa says he knows that I don’t have any money
    Tell him this is last chance to get his daughter in a fine romance
    Because a record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance

    So>>MB>>its so essential to win an UMNO supreme council seat..we are all searching for our Rosie

  2. I’m not sure what I’m trying to say
    It could be I’ve lost my way
    Though I keep a watch over the distance
    Heaven’s no closer than it was yesterday

    And the angels are older
    They know not to wait up for the sun
    They look over my shoulder
    At the maps and the drawings of the journey I’ve begun

    Now the distance leads me farther on
    Though the reasons I once had are gone
    I keep thinking I’ll find what I’m looking for
    In the sand beneath the dawn

    is that how ur feeling my friend?

  3. Ah yes, Running On Empty. Every song a live recording. Like you, I used to wear down this LP back in 1980 thereabouts. Rosie’s good, Cocaine’s damn funny and Stay brings a tear to your eye. Best listened stoned…Blood On The Highway! hahaha.


    Running on Empty is a gem, isn’t it? I particularly like Cocaine, too. Another one I liked was The Road

    Thanks for dropping by, Halim

  4. Dear sir,
    I really have nothing to do today so I googled Rosie by Jackson Browne as I have never heard of this song before. I came across this review:
    ….On one song, tour photographer Joel Bernstein sings harmony on the chorus. Funny things happen when you’re subtle, rueful and witty “Rosie” (written by Browne and his production manager, Donald “Buddha” Miller), a groupie the sound mixer craves leaves with a star, so the mixer must, if he wants any loving that night, once again take himself in hand…..


    Yes! I read that review once, too.

    In fact, that was the conclusion some to my friend came to upon hearing the song the first few times. However, I have it on reliable information, given to me by one of JB’s former roadies, that Rosie was the name of the sound mixer’s wife.

    Turned out there was no controversy after all…

  5. Well, there was a time when I could play note-for-note the guitar lines in Cocaine… As an aside, I dont play ROE anymore, it reminds me of an old friend who has since passed on.


    We used to jam to Cocaine (the song). Loads of room for fun and improvisation. Sorry to hear about your friend who passed on.

    BTW, what’s ROE?

  6. Mr MB,

    Didn’t know you’re a Jackson Browne’s fan. Loved him too. ROE was one of his best album. Its best played while driving thru back-road along any country side. But my all time favourite is ‘Late for the Sky’ (his third album). It pretty much sums up the story of my life ha ha…..


    I hear you, my friend! I’m off to get me a new copy of ‘Late for the Sky’

  7. Salam Mat,
    Reminded me of my good (and not so good) student days… ROE is a gem… the live version of Stay is “haunting”… people stay… just for a little bit longer… for one more song (and then the solo guitar)… I wonder what JB’s doing now?

    Dhahran Sea

    Salam, bro! Yes, ROE is a gem. Its one of those albums that, somehow, stays fresh in my mind no matter how many years have passed.

    Nope! No idea what JB is doing nowadays. Probably trying to spend all the money he’s made over the years. Good for him!

  8. Dude,

    This song, together with “Running on Empty”, “Here Comes the Tears Again”, plus some of James Taylor’s and yes, CCR’s, seemed to be eternally on auto-repeat on the husband’s car stereo. I call them the mid-life crisis compilation. *smirks*

    But after having heard them for awhile, I must say that the songs kind of “grow on you” and I do catch myself singing along at the top of my voice and thumping the steering wheel with my hands; even tho’ when these guys were famous, I was probably still in diapers, or worst, still an EGG!!! *chuckles*

    Frankly, I never really paid much attention to the Rosie lyrics, till you had it all spelt out on this post. Funny how I always thought that it was about .. uhmmm.. handjobs. Wonder where I got that misconception from *grins*


    These mid-life-crisis songs have a tendency of getting to people. I know of people who went “Yucks!” when they first listened to them; then, after a while, you’d catch them humming the tune. Haven’t yet put my finger on why this is so.

    Funny that quite a lot of people think that Rosie is about handjobs. Or could it possibly be that it was I who was clueless all along? 🙂

  9. Mr MB,
    Did you watch the movie ‘Patch Adam’ on TV2 the other nite. In one of the scene, i could hear the song ‘Into the Mystic’ by Van Morrison. He is just brilliant. Going by your taste of good music, i bet you’re a fan too….


    You are so right there: I am a big Van Morrison fan. It shows, huh?

    But I missed Patch Adams that night. Pah!

  10. Brother, this is in my repertoire of songs that I play on my Kapok guitar…

    I play that last verse with real feeling bro’ I know how that feels… that why you should probably look into stuff by John Hiatt too.

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