TAKE IT EASY
Born on Date: May 1, 1972
Songwriters: Jackson Browne, Glenn Frey
Genre: Country Rock
The Band: Eagles
Glenn Frey – acoustic guitar, lead vocals
Bernie Leadon – lead guitar, banjo, harmony vocals
Randy Meisner – bass guitar, harmony vocals
Don Henley – drums, harmony vocals
Album: Eagles (debut album)
Format: 7” single
Producer: Gyln Johns
Recorded: Olympic Sound Studio, London, 1972
Length: 3:30 single
“Take it Easy” is listed as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
Per Wikipedia: In 1999, a life-sized statue of Glenn Frey was added to the Standin’ on the Corner Park in Winslow, Arizona to honor his songwriting contributions to the song.
The statue stands near a lamp post, the male figure securing an acoustic guitar between his right hand and the shoe of his right foot. Above his head, a metal sign, crafted in the style of U.S. Route shields, displays the words “Standin’ on the corner”. The mural on the wall behind the statue is that of a storefront, and includes what would appear to be the reflection of a red flatbed Ford pickup truck driven by a blonde-haired woman. The second floor of the mural features an eagle perched in one window on the left and a man and woman (apparently the man on the corner and woman in the truck) embracing in another window on the right.
My best friend was moving back to western Pennsylvania from southern California! I flew out to make the cross country trip with her and at the precious age of 19, I felt it was the first big decision I made without asking my parents for permission. Nothing was going to stop me from going and bringing home my pal.
Val had packed up the bed of her blue Chevy Luv Truck and tarped the load. We left out of Garden Grove and headed across the desert. We both had long hair and discussed the strategy of wearing our hair up inside a baseball caps because we thought it would be less obvious we were girls traveling alone. Yes -- we were that naive, but thank goodness it was the good easy days of the seventies and many times more safer than the roads today.
We stopped in Needles for refreshments -- but at the roadside rest area a glass bottle of Coke out of the dispenser become hot even before we could finish 16 ounces of the “real thing”. Needles, California typically tops the list of hottest places in the US on any given day, but never the less I enjoyed the wet of the hot coke. In contrast, that evening we took a rest in Flagstaff where it was so cold it snowed. Somehow we had fun through the extremes.
The next morning we headed west on Interstate 40. Our 8 track tape deck was on the front seat playing our music, like the electronic fiddle in the latest Electric Light Orchestra album or we were playing and singing along to the Eagles, Take it Easy. As we were singing along to Take it Easy the next exit on I-40 coincidentally was marked for Winslow ... so you gotta know, every time I hear this song I am with Val, back on the road on our big cross country adventure.
“Take it Easy”
I have three older brothers and as we grew up I remember we always had the radio on or the turn table spinning. The original Eagles album was one of our top favorites when we were teenagers. None of us paid much attention to reading lyrics. We would just sing along with the song even if we didn’t know the words because we would sing gibberish for the parts we didn’t know. I wouldn’t say we had good voices but that didn’t matter. Having fun was what mattered and enjoying the music was easy even without any musical talent. One of us was always playing air guitar and another one air drums. Carrying on with silliness was our typical amusing way when together.
As the youngest kid I followed the lead of my older brothers and one brother in particular was the flamboyant one. Pete always had us laughing and always cheered up any room or party we had. He always had a bunch of girls that had a crush on him, but so did my other brothers. I guess it was said around town that us brothers were a rambunctious bunch who took after our father with his good looks.
I will never forget the day we hosted a summer picnic at the river. It’s an easy day to remember because it was the summer of ‘74 when I had bought my first Mustang, a ‘70 red convertible with mag wheels.(1973 was the last of the classic Mustang convertible. Convertible Mustangs didn’t return again in the Ford lineup until 1983).
That Saturday all our friends showed up to eat, drink, and celebrate a couple birthdays. We had a volleyball game going and others were tending to the food or were hanging around the beer keg. We had brought our radio along and had it cranked up dialed into our favorite local station. When “Take it Easy” started to play us brothers happened to be standing near one another at the time and we started to sing along with the Eagles. When we got to the third verse the lyrics actually say “looking for a lover who won’t blow my cover, she’s so hard to find” ... but Pete had nonchalantly taught us to sing “looking for a lover who wouldn’t blow my brother ... she’s so hard to find”.
I had no idea the lyrics we sang were not what the songwriter wrote, but ones Pete had made up. I had only known and heard the song that one way. When we sang that afternoon our whole gang of friends standing there began laughing hysterically as they knew it was a lyric blooper. Only afterwards did they tell us innocents the real lyrics. Pete stood there with a shit-eating grin on his face knowing he had duped us. It was a hysterically fun moment I’ll never forget.
I’ve since concluded that with so many girls chasing all my brothers while we were in high school, that Pete was serious when he made up those words. Even today when I hear that song, I sing Pete’s version. Guess a lot of us had our fair share of free love in the 60’s and 70’s and loyalty came much later on when we got serious, matured, or settled down. Meanwhile, I remind you, no matter what; take it easy!