LENOX -- Singer-songwriter Jackson Browne will be the Fourth of July star performer at Tanglewood this summer, the Boston Symphony announced on Monday.

Browne, 64, will be making his first appearance at the orchestra's summer home since 1998, when he was joined by Bonnie Raitt before 14,125 concertgoers.

He first performed there on July 31, 1973, as the opening act for the band America; Browne also appeared in 1977, 1978 and 1980, before an 18-year gap prior to his return. The Aug. 15, 1978, concert attracted a near-record crowd of 21,370 listeners.

The BSO also announced an addition to its jazz lineup at Ozawa Hall. Bassist, vocalist and composer Esperanza Spalding will appear there on Sunday, Aug. 4, at 8 p.m. in her Tanglewood debut. Tickets go on sale on Jan. 27, ranging from $20 to $99.

Jackson Browne photo via the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (http://rockhall.com/inductees/jackson-browne/)
Jackson Browne photo via the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (http://rockhall.com/inductees/jackson-browne/) (Photo via the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

"With Jackson Browne -- one of this country's most popular songwriters and performers -- returning to the Shed after a 15-year absence on July 4, and Esperanza Spaulding -- one of the biggest new talents in the jazz world -- making her Tanglewood debut in Ozawa Hall on Aug. 4, we're thrilled with our initial 2013 Popular Artist series, and look forward to filling in that schedule over the next few months," said a BSO spokesperson.

Browne, 64, has sold an estimated 17 million copies in the U.S. of his 18 albums since his debut recording in 1972. His most recent CD, "Love is Strange," was released in 2010. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

Browne was born Clyde Jackson Browne on Oct. 9, 1948, in Heidelberg, Germany, where his father, Clyde Jack Browne, was on duty for the U.S. Army.

A lifelong resident of Southern California except for a stint in New York's Greenwich Village from 1966-68, Browne broke into the music scene around 1965 by singing at night spots in Los Angeles such as the famed Troubadour Club. He played with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and with folk singer Tim Buckley.

Browne co-wrote three songs for the German singer Nico's first album, "Chelsea Girls." In 1972, he co-produced The Eagle's debut album and co-wrote the band's first single, "Take It Easy."

Browne's early songs, including "These Days," were performed by singers including Springsteen, Joan Baez, Gregg Allman, Linda Ronstadt, the Byrds and Tom Rush. Soon, he released his own versions, leading Rolling Stone to tout Browne for "mind-boggling melodies."

Browne is renowned for intimate, self-revelatory lyrics and low-key, acoustic-oriented musicianship reflecting his early folk-music roots.

He is a high-profile political activist and advocate of causes supporting arts education, the environment and human rights. He was honored in 2002 with the John Steinbeck Award in recognition of his backing of environmental and social values that were central to the life and work of the author, a California native.

Browne has been especially prominent in the anti-nuclear movement since the Three Mile Island accident, a partial meltdown, in 1979.

In 2004, he campaigned against the re-election of President George W. Bush by taking part in the Vote for Change concert tour. Much earlier, in 1986, he released his "Lives in the Balance" album with lyrics strongly critical of U.S.-backed wars in Central America during the Reagan Administration. When Elektra Records declined to produce a title-track video, Browne financed his own.

In August 2008, Browne sued Republican presidential candidate John McCain for using his hit song "Running on Empty" without his permission in an attack ad against Democrat Barack Obama. A settlement was reached that included an apology and a private financial agreement.

Occidental College in Los Angeles gave Browne an honorary doctorate of music degree in 2004 for "a remarkable musical career that has successfully combined an intensely personal artistry with a broader vision of social justice."

Tickets for the 7 p.m. performance, from $23.50 to $79.50, go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 27, via www.tanglewood.org, by phone at 888-266-1200, or at the BSO box office at Symphony Hall in Boston. That's the same day tickets for the entire Tanglewood season become available for non-donors.

If you go ...

  • What: Singer-songwriter Jackson Browne.
  • Where: Tanglewood, Lenox.
  • When: Thursday, July 4, 7 p.m., Shed. (Fireworks follow.)
  • Tickets: Prices range from $23.50 to $79.50 and will go sale to the general public at 10 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 27, 
  • via www.tanglewood.org, or by calling 888-266-1200; also at the BSO Box Office, Symphony Hall, Boston.

 

Jackson Browne ...

  • Born: Oct. 9, 1948, Heidelberg, Germany.
  • Birth name: Clyde Jackson Browne.
  • Recordings: More than 17 million albums sold in the U.S. since his debut disc in 1972.
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Inducted in 2004.
  • Best-known tracks: "Doctor My Eyes," "Jamaica Say You Will," "Rock Me on the Water," "Take It Easy," "Lawyers in Love," "Running on Empty," "These Days," "The Pretender," "Somebody's Baby."
  • Key albums: "Jackson Browne" (1972 debut), "Running on Empty," "Lawyers in Love," "For Everyman," "Late for the Sky, "The Pretender," "Lives in the Balance," I'm Alive," "Time the Conquerer," "Love is Strange."

To contact Clarence Fanto:
cfanto@yahoo.com 
or (413) 637-2551.
On Twitter: @BE_cfanto