I'm standing on a corner
In Winslow, Arizona
Such a fine sight to see
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Standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona, one of the most popular photo ops in the Southwest.
“Take It Easy” was the first single released by The Eagles in 1972. Now, if you’re not familiar with The Eagles - and I would imagine that might be like, one person
- you’ll know that this became one of their biggest hits and kicked off the career of a band considered to be one of the greatest rock bands of all time. The song typified what The Eagles were: relaxed, California rock with a slight hint of country. The message of the song was to relax, and that’s all The Eagles wanted you to do. This song is what The Eagles were, are, and always will be.
Let’s start with the song and the band. The Eagles have sold so many albums it’s mind-blowing. Their Greatest Hits
album has broken the record for the best selling album of all-time, passing Michael Jackson’s Thriller
. Now, many would argue that it shouldn’t count because it’s a greatest hits album (me being one of those people), however, just looking at the pure numbers, it has sold more copies than any other album in history.
There are two different phases of The Eagles that you should be familiar with. There’s the early, laid-back, let-Glenn-Frey-and-Randy-Meisner-do-everything Eagles, and then there’s the liquored-up-Joe-Walsh Eagles. The first phase of The Eagles began when they did, around 1971. Initially The Eagles were the backup band to Linda Ronstadt, but eventually came into their own, and after touring the night club circuit for awhile, brought an album together, called it Eagles
and pumped out a 45 from the album. The A-side to that 45 was “Take It Easy” and the B-side was “Get You In The Mood.” But really, who cares about the B-side? You don’t know that song. Why would you? It wasn’t even on their album. What matters is “Take It Easy.” Oh yeah, and the two other huge hits they had off of that album, “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “Witchy Woman.”
After their debut album, they released three more albums and a string of hits before the lineup changed. In 1974, Don Felder joined the band and, most importantly, in 1975, Joe Walsh, famous with his work with James Gang, joined the band. With Walsh and Felder, they released Hotel California
, which, if you haven’t listened to it yet, is one of the greatest albums of all time and you should literally stop whatever you’re doing right now and go listen to it. After Hotel California
they released The Long Run
and then promptly broke up, until they reunited in 2007 and released the lukewarm Long Road Out Of Eden
Now for the song. Oddly enough, The Eagles' first big hit song was only somewhat written by them. Initially, Glenn Frey’s good friend (and famous musician you’ve probably heard of) Jackson Browne, was working on a song he called “Take It Easy.” He was having the worst time finishing it. Frey absolutely loved it and asked Browne if his new band, The Eagles, could record a version of it when he was done. Browne obliged, but never got around to finishing the song. Finally, he got fed up with the song - and Frey’s insistence - and said that Frey should just finish the song himself. So he did. And it was a massive hit. According to Browne, “He [Frey] finished it in spectacular fashion. And, what's more, arranged it in a way that was far superior to what I had written.” Browne eventually released a version of his own on his album For Everyman
, but it never really went anywhere. Everyone knew and loved The Eagles version and it propelled them into stardom.
So now we come to the place, because this is Songplaces and we write about places. One of the most famous lines in this song was actually added by Frey and not Browne. The line is this: “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.” This reference to the small town of Winslow, Arizona, was a complete throwaway line, as Winslow is just a small town in northeast Arizona where someone can stop for rest or food or a girl in a flatbed Ford. It could’ve been anywhere, but it was Winslow, and Winslow has milked that for all it’s worth. You may or may not be aware, but there is a little area in Winslow that is called the Standin’ On The Corner Park, all about “Take It Easy." There's a picture of it at the top of this page. There's a statue of a man and a fully painted mural of a woman in a flatbed Ford, I assume, slowing down to take a look at the man. This little area has become a massive tourist attraction to an otherwise not-so-interesting town. The town itself is a little stop off of historic Route 66. After interstate 40 was built, much of the traffic that was on Route 66 diverted to I-40 and Winslow suffered, but once the Eagles released “Take It Easy," Winslow milked the living crap out of the reference, and people started visiting in bunches. In 1999, they opened the Standin’ On The Corner Park and now people flock to get a picture with the statue and put it on their Facebooks. It’s interesting that such a small town gained so much popularity and so much notoriety from a line that Glenn Frey thought nothing of. But that’s the power of music.
~ Ben Palmer
(Thanks to Laurie for the Songplace suggestion.)
Take It Easy Songfacts
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