If you ask John David where he’s from, he may say without hesitation; “I’m from Amarillo.” But depending on who’s asking, he may shrug and say: “I’m from everywhere, I guess.” He would be mostly right either way.
“Hanging out in the bar at the Troubadour with Glenn Frey and Jackson Browne and playing open mike Mondays, then opening for Poco and The Flying Burrito Brothers — it was the best study in songwriting I can imagine. So many great songwriters came through – Laura Nyro, Kris Kristofferson, Randy Newman, Elton John, James Taylor, Tim Hardin, Carole King, Rick Nelson, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Waylon Jennings, Tim Buckley, Gordon Lightfoot, Taj Mahal and more. It seems impossible now to imagine that much music in a year and a half or so, but that was my life and the Troubadour was our university. It’s also where I met Linda Ronstadt and where Don Henley and Glenn Frey met to form this little country rock band called Eagles that would go on to make musical history.”
But it would be 1979 before Souther registered his first really massive hit as a solo artist: “You’re Only Lonely” from the LP You’re Only Lonely. The track hit #1 at Adult Contemporary radio that year and rose as high as #7 on the Billboard Top 100. At the same time; “Heartache Tonight” the Eagles smash single co-written by Souther, Henley, Frey, and Bob Seger topped the charts. The album from which it came, The Long Run, included two more Henley/Frey/Souther songs as well.
While J.D. Souther may have made his biggest impact on the country-rock sound behind the scenes or in a supporting role to some of the bigger pop names of the ’70s, he had an impressive and critically acclaimed series of solo albums