Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day Music — Song #116

Jackson Browne
“Rock Me On The Water” —

Jackson Browne is an American singer-songwriter, and musician who has sold over 18 million albums in the United States. Coming to prominence in the 1970s, Browne has written and recorded songs such as “The Pretender”, “Doctor My Eye”, and “Running On Empty.” Jackson has performed with the “Eagles”, “Crosby, Stills and Nash” and Bruce Springsteen among many others.

“Rock Me On The Water” was written and performed by Browne and was released as his second single from his debut album titled, “Jackson Brown” in 1972. The song has since been covered by other artists, but his version was the most popular reaching #48 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1973.

Browne addressed the gospel and religious issues in the song, saying that “it’s not about religion, it’s about society.” The song is meant to employ gospel language, but, he said, he turns “it around 180 degrees” in order to suggest in a friendly manner that society is responsible for addressing issues of homelessness. Browne asks people to look around and see that “you’ve left it for somebody other than you to be the one to care.” and “you’re lost inside your houses, there’s no time to find you now.” Browne later said, ” I staked a lot on that song, because it was a combining of that social awareness and paying attention to what’s going on around, with the inner search for spiritual meaning.”

Jackson Browne was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

Oh people, look around you
The signs are everywhere
You’ve left it for somebody other than you
To be the one to care
You’re lost inside your houses
There’s no time to find you now
Your walls are burning and your towers are turning
I’m going to leave you here and try to get down to the sea somehow​

The road is filled with homeless souls
Every woman, child and man
Who have no idea where they will go
But they’ll help you if they can
Now everyone must have some thought
That’s going to pull them through somehow
Well the fires are raging hotter and hotter
But the sisters of the sun are going to rock me on the water now

Rock me on the water
Sister will soothe my fevered brow
Rock me on the water
I’ll get down to the sea somehow

Oh people, look among you
It’s there your hope must lie
There’s a seabird above you
Gliding in one placelike Jesus in the sky
We all must do the best that we can
And then hang on to that Gospel plow
When my life is over, I’m going to stand before the Father
But the sisters of the sun are going to rock me on the water now

Rock me on the water
Sister won’t you soothe my fevered brow
Rock me on the water, maybe I’ll remember
Maybe I’ll remember how
Rock me on the waterThe wind is with me now
So rock me on the water
I’ll get down to the sea somehow.

See an entire collection of songs relating to homelessness here!

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About the Author

Tim Houchen
Tim Houchen was homeless and living at the Santa Ana Civic Center between 2011 and 2015. He began advocating for the homeless community there while he was still homeless as a founding member of the infamous Civic Center Roundtable. The “grass roots” organization was composed of homeless individuals living at the civic center and Houchen was elected to serve as the groups first official spokesman in 2014. Tim is now in permanent supportive housing and lives in the City of Anaheim where he serves as a Commissioner of Housing and Community Development. Tim is also a member of the Orange County Continuum of Care and serves as Co-Chairman of the Homeless Providers Forum. He founded the nonprofit, Hope 4 Restoration, in 2017 and serves as Executive Director of the organization. Houchen created this site as a vehicle to share his knowledge, information and most of all, his experience which allows him to view the current homeless crisis in Orange County from a different and very unique perspective, a “Homeless Perspective.”

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