The Byrds’ Top 25 Songs: #21: “Jamaica Say You Will”

“Jamaica Say You Will” (3:27)
Written by Jackson Browne
Produced by Terry Melcher
From “Byrdmaniax,” Columbia, June 23, 1971

In the mid-1960s, Clarence White (above photo) was recognized as one of the most talented young guitarists in the Southern California county music scene. Clarence made the transition to rock ‘n’ roll/country-rock with his five-year stint with the Byrds from 1969 to 1973.

Clarence sang lead on only a handful of Byrds tunes. His nasally vocal style was a limitation, but he made it work on this poignant song about a relationship break-up written by up-and-coming LA songwriter and gifted lyricist, Jackson Browne, whose debut album would be released the following year.

Many Byrds aficionados consider “Byrdmaniax” to be the band’s worst album because of the weak material and producer Terry Melcher’s obtrusive orchestral and choral overdubs. Amidst the carnage, “Jamaica Say You Will” really stands out.

Trivia: Jackson Browne has said this break-up song was inspired by a former girlfriend who worked at an organic vegetable farm overlooking Zuma Beach in Malibu, California, who opted to end the relationship and move forward with her life.

Above: Zuma Beach in Malibu, California

10 thoughts on “The Byrds’ Top 25 Songs: #21: “Jamaica Say You Will”

      1. Pretty low key day for me too! Reading and did blog stuff (sharing it on social media), wrote another book review for today, the rare two posts in one day, and homeschool lessons! Now doing a Bible study with the kids on Exodus!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I wonder what its like to be in the early 70s in SoCal! Must have been awesome. The song sound good. Mellow but not hard to listen in the sense you go to sleep…Sorry I did laugh at the girlfriend working at organic farm; seems “organic” is such a buzzword for leftist young people in California now and I wonder if it was back then.
    Malibu is a nice area; but the people are so unfriendly to tourist, they usually want the beach to themselves. Typical Cadillac liberals. Wonder if that was like that back then

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the enjoyable comments! This song definitely represents the mellow SoCal rock sound of that era. Yeah, I also chuckled at the “organic farm” reference. Browne mentioned the girl was very beautiful but was also militantly into yoga and vegetarianism and he wasn’t, which is why they grew apart and she ended up ditching him. I think the hippies and flower children were hanging out at some nice spots in SoCal in the 60s and early-70s but eventually got kicked out when the spots were gentrified.

      Liked by 1 person

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