Take it Easy, Glenn Frey.

I grew up listening to the Eagles. Not in the same way that I could sing along to Fleetwood Mac or Peter, Paul, and Mary, but I was surprised to see how many Eagles songs I knew just from cranking the oldies station in the car.  Glenn Frey was a lead vocalist alongside Don Henley, and he also played the keyboard and guitar.  After consulting my parents on their favorite Eagles song, and exploring a few on my own, I decided on “Take it Easy.”

Glenn Frey leads the vocals on this one.  Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey wrote in for release in 1972. It was their first single. It was also the first track on the album Eagles.

“Take It Easy”
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

“Take it Easy”–Live 1977

I chose this song because it’s the biggest hit that Glenn Frey had as the lead vocalist.  In other tracks, i.e. “Boys of Summer,” Don Henley takes the helm.  But on a more substantive level, this song is a wonderful reminder to relax, let life happen, and to be happy that it does.  From someone who’s died, this is a call to the living to actually live. Sure, it’s about multiple lovers and the search for the “right one.” But it also about the nature of mistake and the need to find someone to ground us.

The guitar starts with a rhythmic, upbeat tone.  The drum taps are subtle in the background of the song, and their consistency throughout call to the repetitiveness of love in the song.  The guitar solos are part pure classic rock part crooning angst.  I wish I knew how to describe the guitar interlude at the end in words other than “wow.” But just in pure time terms, the main lyrics actually end at 2:58, but the song goes on for more than two minutes with an amazing guitar solo.  The instrument speaks on its own.

Glenn Frey had a more mellow voice than Don Henley, which only reinforces the meaning of the song.  The rock n roll is mixed with a smooth folksy ease that calls to the classic Fleetwood Mac.  It’s a song ahead of its time.  Glenn Frey’s music spans generational differences and will continue too. But in the meantime, Rest in Peace Glenn, and take it easy.

 

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