The Debate Over Jackson Browne’s ‘World in Motion’

Mickey Baker’s letter to the editor (July 15) regarding Randy Lewis’ review of Jackson Browne’s “World in Motion” (album) exemplifies the naivete that typifies today’s rock-music fan.

In the first place, Baker’s assertion that “rock ‘n’ roll has always been in the forefront of social change” is plain nonsense.

In the early days, rock music’s themes rarely strayed beyond those of teen-age lust, romance and good times. Just try to find a social message in “Great Balls of Fire,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “Surfin’ Safari” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

In reality, it wasn’t until the ‘60s and its fusion with folk music that rock became the liberally biased social mouthpiece it is today.


But that’s not the real point here. Baker, in her mindless idol worship of Jackson Browne, Sting and all the other musicians " . . . who have the guts to tell the truth . . . " fails to see that their “truth” is actually an extremely narrow interpretation of the facts surrounding the issues.

Rather than providing intelligent, balanced discourse on problems such as homelessness, pollution and world hunger, rock musicians pontificate about human indifference, cry out in self-righteous indignation against the evils of materialism and self-interest, and poetically plead for increased social spending and government intervention programs that rarely, if ever, make a difference.

Bob Geldof’s feed-the-world efforts were a perfect example of this. After all the hype and self-congratulation settled and all the money squandered, Geldof and his followers had to face the fact that it wasn’t indifference or drought that kept Ethiopians in starvation, but Communist oppression and bankrupt socialism. Not surprisingly, the rock-music world seemed to miss this point entirely.

Baker and others like her need to realize that the Jackson Brownes and Stings of the world have no more grasp on the truth than our government has on economic reality.


If she is really concerned about social problems, Baker ought to search for the truth through books and periodicals and spend less time pondering the shallow poetics of boobs like Jackson Browne.


Costa Mesa

Please keep letters brief and include full name, address and phone number. Mail to: Orange County Calendar Letters, Los Angeles Times, P.O. Box 2008, Costa Mesa, Calif., 92626.