Who Wrote the Eagles’ 1972 Debut Single “Take It Easy”

Unquestionably one of the Eagles’ most celebrated classics, “Take It Easy” was not written entirely by an Eagle.

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Initially, non-Eagle Jackson Browne, who was building his own solo career after some time with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, started writing “Take It Easy” in 1971 for his own self-titled 1972 debut album,

“I took a road trip in this old beat-up Willys Jeep and I went to Utah and Arizona,” said Browne on how the classic started out. “On that trip, I started to write ‘Take It Easy.'”

[RELATED: 4 Songs You Didn’t Know the Eagles’ Glenn Frey Wrote for Other Artists]

Once he returned back to Los Angeles, Browne continued writing the song but was having trouble finishing it, before getting a little unexpected help from a friend. At the time, Eagle Glenn Frey, who lived downstairs in the same apartment complex in Echo Park as Browne with his roommate J.D. Souther, was curious about this song he kept hearing him work on.

“I used to sit and listen to Jackson,” revealed Frey. “Jackson was very pragmatic. He wrote every day. That blew my mind. Every night he would be working on a song of his. And I would hear him working on all the stuff for his first album through the floorboards.”

Frey eventually stopped by, and Browne showed him the beginnings of the song. “He asked if I was gonna put it on my record and I said it wouldn’t be ready in time,” recalled Browne. “He said, ‘Well, we’ll put it on, we’ll do it,’ but it wasn’t finished, and he kept after me to finish it.”

Browne shared his second verse—Well, I’m a-standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona. Frey added Such a fine sight to see / It’s a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford / Slowin’ down to take a look at me.

“That was my contribution to ‘Take It Easy,’ really,” said Frey, “just finishing the second verse. Jackson was so thrilled. He said, “Okay. We co-wrote this.’”

Browne continued writing “Take It Easy” after their first impromptu session and later showed it to Frey again. “When I came back, I played it for Glenn Frey, and he asked if the Eagles could cut it when it was done,” added Browne. “So I said, ‘Just finish it,’ and he wrote the last verse and turned it into a real song. It was their first single, and what those guys did with it was incredible.”

Though he wasn’t an official member of the Eagles, Browne played a major role in the early success of the band.

[RELATED: Behind The Band Band Name: Eagles]

Over the years, Browne wrote a number of other songs for the Eagles, including the band’s “Nightingale,” (sung by Don Henley), off their eponymous 1972 debut. The song was originally an unreleased track from Browne’s first album. Browne later contributed more songs to the band, including “Doolin-Dalton,” which he co-wrote with Henley, Frey, and Souther for their second album, Desperado, in 1973.

Released on May 1, 1972, “Take It Easy” peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and Browne later recorded his own version of the song for his 1973 album For Everyman.

Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

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