Take It Easy
Writer(s): Jackson Browne, Glenn Frey (see lyrics here)
Released: May 1, 1972
First Charted: May 19, 1972
Peak: 12 US, 9 CB, 6 GR, 6 HR, 12 AC, 1 CL, 12 UK, 8 CN, 49 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.4 UK
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 4.0 radio, 21.8 video, 341.0 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
Glenn Frey and Jackson Browne were friends before either made it as a big name. Frey was performing with J.D. Southern in a duo known as Longbranch Pennywhistle when Browne met him and introduced him to David Geffen, who signed Frey’s next group – the Eagles – to Asylum Records. SS Frey and Browne kept crossing paths at clubs and open-mic nights and even lived in the same Echo Park, California apartment building. WK Different accounts suggest that Frey either visited Browne in the studio WK while he was working on his debut album or that he heard Browne playing the song in his apartment. SF
Either way, Browne shared an unfinished version of “Take It Easy” with Frey, playing the beginning of the second verse: “Well, I’m a-standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona,” a line inspired by a road trip he took through Winslow on Route 40. SF Frey completed it with the lines “Such a fine fight to see / It’s a girl, my lord / In a flatbed Ford / Slowin’ down to take a look at me.” WK
Frey nagged Browne to finish the song, finally doing it himself with Browne’s blessing. As Browne said, “he finished it in spectacular fashion. And, what’s more, arranged it in a way that was far superior to what I had written.” WK With Frey singing lead, the Eagles recorded the song for their self-titled, debut album. It ended up being the first single. Browne recorded it in 1973 for his sophomore album, For Everyman. Frey said Browne did most of the work and was generous to share the writing credit. SF
The “happy, easy-flowing rocker about hitting the road in search of peace of mind and maybe a little romance” SS was significant in the development of the country-rock movement. “A George Jones fan would probably not considere the record to be anything other than straightahead rock, but there was a noticeable ‘twanginess’ to it that would have surprised the average rock-radio listener.” TB Music historian Dominic Priore called it the “‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ for the next decade.” SS
Years later the song would also be significant for its role in reuniting the Eagles. In 1993, some of country music’s biggest names recorded an Eagles’ tribute album called Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles. Travis Tritt tackled “Take It Easy.” When he filmed a video for the song, he persuaded all five members from the Eagles last 1980 lineup to join him. The next year, the Eagles released Hell Freezes Over, a mostly live album which also featured the band’s first new recordings in fourteen years.
First posted 7/2/2022; last updated 3/26/2023.