"Boulevard" is a song written and performed by American singer-songwriter Jackson Browne. It is from his 1980 album Hold Out. When it was released as a single, it entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart at position number 72 on July 5, 1980. It peaked at number 19 and spent 16 weeks on the chart, the fifth-biggest hit of Browne's Top 40 career. Besides the United States, the song was also released as a single in Spain, Japan, the U.K., Italy and Germany.

Origin[edit source | editbeta][edit | edit source]

Described as "uptempo Bob Seger-like" by David Bertrand Wilson on his record reviews website, the song's lyrics rather cynically describe the state of day-to-day and night-to-night life on the street (ostensibly Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles):[5]

Browne said in a radio interview: "It's about runaways, and, you know... as sort of a bystander, it's about Hollywood Boulevard. I used to live right above Hollywood Boulevard, and there's a place called The Gold Cup and there's a lot of runaway kids and there's a lot of teen prostitution around there. It was partly written from the point of view of a young person on that street, yet it's not really immersed in that. You're sort of, maybe, empathizing with them to some degree, and also trying to say 'it's only time.' It's time on the boulevard, but this doesn't mean this is who you are and where you'll always be, I guess was what I was trying to say..."[6]

The hearts are hard and the times are tough.
Down on the boulevard, the night's enough.
And time passes slow,
Between the store front shadows and the street lights glow.
Everybody walks right by like they're safe or something ...
They don't know —'

The song begins with, and is structured around, a loud electric guitar riff. According to the album liner notes, Rick Marotta guests on drums on this one song on the album. Russ Kunkel is credited with playing drums on all other songs on the Hold Out album. Danny Kortchmar adds maracas.

Reaction[edit source | editbeta][edit | edit source]

In his review of the Hold Out album, Robert Christgau said of "Boulevard," putting it into the context of the then-emergent Punk music scene: "..but I wonder whether the lost kids (i.e., Lost Kids) in 'Boulevard' wear mohawks, and whether JB will ever find it in himself to sing to them."[7]

Later uses[edit source | editbeta][edit | edit source]

This song was heard in the 1990 pilot for the TV series Beverly Hills 90210.[8]

Chart positions[edit source | editbeta][edit | edit source]

Chart (1980) Peak


U.S. BillboardHot 100 19
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