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Boomer Road Songs: Take It Easy

FIRST ALBUM. FIRST TRACK. FIRST SINGLE.

OF STANDING ON A CORNER: Jackson Browne originally began writing “Take It Easy” in 1971 for his own eponymous debut album but was having difficulty finishing the song. Browne’s friend Glenn Frey – who lived in the same [Echo Park] California apartment building as Browne – had heard an early version and later asked Browne about it. Browne then played the unfinished second verse that begins with “Well, I’m a-standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona…”, and Frey finished the verse with “Such a fine sight to see. It’s a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me.” Browne was very happy with the result and suggested that they finish the song together. The resulting song became the first track on the Eagles’ debut album and was released as their first single.

The song was recorded at the Olympic Studios in London with producer Glyn Johns. Glenn Frey sings the lead vocal on the Eagles recording of “Take It Easy”. Bass player Randy Meisner sings the harmony vocal in the second verse with Frey, with drummer Don Henley harmonizing in the chorus, on the line “Though we will never be here again. So open up, I’m climbin’ in.” Bernie Leadon provides the lead guitar and distinctive banjo parts, as well as harmony vocals. The track’s producer Johns said: “On ‘Take It Easy’ I got Bernie to play double-time banjo; they all thought it was a bonkers idea but it worked. It was already a great song, but that one little thing made it different.”

 

Well, I’m running down the road tryin’ to loosen my load
I’ve got seven women on my mind
Four that wanna own me, two that wanna stone me
One says she’s a friend of mine

Take It easy, take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy
Lighten up while you still can
Don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand and take it easy

Well, I’m a standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona
And such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford
Slowin’ down to take a look at me

Come on, baby, don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me
We may lose, and we may win
Though we will never be here again
So open up, I’m climbin’ in
So take it easy

Well I’m running down the road trying to loosen my load
Got a world of trouble on my mind
Lookin’ for a lover who won’t blow my cover
She’s so hard to find

Take it easy, take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels make you crazy
Come on baby, don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me, oh oh oh
Oh we got it easy
We oughta take it easy…….We oughta take it easy…….We oughta take it easy…….We oughta take it easy…….We oughta take it easy…….We oughta take it easy…….We oughta take it easy…….We oughta take it easy…….We oughta take it easy…….We oughta take it easy…….We oughta take it easy…….We oughta take it easy……………………

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  • Kevin in PA August 31, 2021, 1:19 PM

    Great tune. Great times!

    Those days are gone, friends.

    Prepare to defend yourselves.

  • jwm August 31, 2021, 1:33 PM

    Winslow AZ! Been there, seen that.
    (Just about my only claim to fame.)

    JWM

  • Gordon Scott August 31, 2021, 1:39 PM

    Will be there, tomorrow.

  • John Venlet August 31, 2021, 1:44 PM

    Great tune, as far as I’m concerned, as were many Eagles tunes. Mojo Nixon, though, well he’s another story, and wrote and sung the tune Don Henley Must Die. Ol’ Mojo has some crazy music.

    • Brewvet September 2, 2021, 3:11 AM

      Another Mojoite! Glad to see that I’m not the only one who knows about the Psychobilly Rocker!
      (Couple of my favorites are “I got a crazy wife” and “Drunk Divorced Floozy (The Ballad of Diana Spencer)”)

  • ghostsniper August 31, 2021, 2:20 PM

    I wonder who got knocked the fuck out by Joe’s flyin’ Tele?
    Easy stuff to play. Got their big book in the 70’s and learned all of it asap.
    Bittercreek is a tough one for me with those B’s.

  • Dirk August 31, 2021, 2:42 PM

    Eight weeks ago went to Ft Worth Texas to pick up our new/ used trailer. Was surprised to discover Winslow AZ, on interstate 40. Left ft worth the next morning towing a 43 footer, made it back to Windslow AZ, we’re I passed out in a store parking lot, for the first time in our new trailer bed.

    Life-lessons, at 65 yrs don’t marathon drive 17 /18 hour days. I Left on a Monday at 0400, home that Thursday evening at 1100. I swear to god I saw big foot standing in the road twice.

    This song is magic, so so many fantastic memories from around the world for me, and my wife,,,,with this song. We were kids learning about love and responsibility, life’s ups and downs. 38 hrs later she’s still by my side.

    “I would have left after two hours, of my nonsense”.

    VI

    Saw the Eagles at “Day On The Greens” Oakland Ca. Saw many bands their over the years.

    • ghostsniper August 31, 2021, 3:01 PM

      Will be 38 hrs here in a few months.

      • Dirk September 2, 2021, 10:21 AM

        Ghost isn’t it odd, that what started out as hours, sometimes longggg hours, turns into years at some point.

        I really really enjoy this get adventure called Life!

        Congrats on 38 sir.

        VI

  • Detroit David August 31, 2021, 5:24 PM

    I suggest the phrase should be “Flat Head Ford”!
    Fords famous first V8 was out of production only 20 years when song was written.

  • browndog August 31, 2021, 5:26 PM

    I agree with John’s observation about Bernie’s banjo track, it absolutely makes the song…that and Randy Meisner’s backing on vocals.

    And while I’m at it, the Eagles were never as good as when Randy and Bernie were in the band.

  • steve walsh September 1, 2021, 5:16 AM

    First song I learned to play and, eventually, sing along while doing so. Still play it regularly now.
    Stopped by Winslow one day a few years ago while in the area. Bought a post card for a college buddy that love, LOVES, the Eagles. Had a photo taken next to that statue. Cheesy but fun.

  • Annie Rose September 1, 2021, 6:44 AM

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I was transported to a summer road trip with my parents. I was 15 years old and we had just left the Grand Canyon after riding mules down and then back up in a snowstorm. My mom was sternly grilling me about why our mule skinner had surprised me with a warm kiss goodbye on the lips (my first kiss). Take It Easy was playing on the radio. I just smiled at her, which drove her crazy. I still have the Eagles greatest hits album from that time.

  • Mike Austin September 1, 2021, 9:25 AM

    Ok then. I’ll be the odd man out. Quite used to that I am.

    Born in 1953 qualifies me to be a “boomer”, though I have few—any?—shared characteristics with a typical specimen. As for the Eagles…

    To paraphrase Nazi playwright Hans Johst: “Every time I hear ‘Take it Easy’ I reach for my revolver.”

  • gwbnyc September 2, 2021, 4:59 AM

    Waits’ take-

    “… Waits was critical of the Eagles’ cover version of his song, admitting that he was “not that particularly crazy about (their) rendition of it … I thought their version was a little antiseptic.”[2] About one year later, while interviewed for NME, he went as far as stating that “I don’t like the Eagles. They’re about as exciting as watching paint dry. Their albums are good for keeping the dust off your turntable and that’s about all.” …”

    I heard him say as much during a live interview on WMMS in Cleveland- by my memory, “…yeah it did ol’ Tom’s wallet some good, but jeezus, man, the *Eagles?!!*”

    …just in case anyone forgot I am indeed that turd in your lunchpail.

    • gwbnyc September 2, 2021, 5:06 AM

      the above would all be pertinent if Waits wrote “Take it Easy”, rather than the description of “Ol’ 55” I provided.

      memory loss is a terrible, uh…

      but I’m still your turd.

  • steve walsh September 2, 2021, 3:50 PM

    Btw, IIRC, that scene on the building is painted on, there are no windows on that side of the structure.

    • ghostsniper September 2, 2021, 5:10 PM

      Correct. And you said structure, not building. It’s just a wall, no building. On the backside of the wall is a dirt park with a few trees and picnic tables. NW corner of Old Hwy 66 and N Kinsley Av. Across the street, on the NE corner, is a gift shop called “Standin’ On The Corner”.