June 1972: the Eagles (and Jackson Browne) "Take It Easy"

L-R: Jackson Browne, Glenn Frey and Don Felder of the Eagles in 1979
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Paul Natkin/Getty Images

When the Eagles released their very first single, they did so with a song that was co-written by Glenn Frey with someone who wasn’t even in the band - although let’s be honest: he might as well have been.

Given that we mentioned it in the title, this is hardly a spoiler, so you probably don’t need to brace yourself for this revelation: the co-writer in question was Jackson Browne, who’d actually started penning the tune in question for his own debut album. For whatever reason, however, Browne couldn’t seem to bring it to fruition. Frey, one of Browne’s neighbors at the time, enjoyed what he’d heard of the track and wanted to know what had happened to it, at which point Browne admitted that he’d gotten stuck after writing the line, “Well, I’m a-standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.” Frey, congenial fellow that he was, offered this one: “It’s a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me.”

Voila! A songwriting collaboration was created!

Produced by Glyn Johns, “Take It Easy” features the late, great Frey on lead vocals, with both Randy Meisner and Don Henley providing harmonies for the second verse. Bernie Leadon offers up harmony vocals as well, but his most notable contributions to the song are with his lead guitar and double-time banjo playing. It all added up to a hit for the band, with the song climbing all the way to No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100.

READ MORE: Why Eagles' 'Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)' Keeps Soaring

The following year, Browne recorded his own version of the song, bringing in Sneaky Pete Kleinow to play pedal steel guitar and David Lindley to contribute electric guitar, but it failed to garner him any significant chart success. On the other hand, Travis Tritt’s cover of the song for the 1993 tribute album Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles hit No. 12 on the country singles chart and - perhaps more importantly - led to a Eagles reunion.

But, of course, you’ve already heard that story, haven’t you?

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( Mick Hutson/Redferns)
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(WEA)
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