I am one of those folks who remember things that happened 40 years ago like it was yesterday but somehow can't remember where I put my car keys this morning. But I can remember when I first heard that song.
It was early summer 1972. I had been at my grandparent's place outside of Mountain View with my uncle and we were headed back to Kansas City. Just as we got to the top of Dodd Mountain and were about to turn onto Highway 9 a song came on the radio that simply "blew me away." I remember my uncle asking me "Who is that?" I think my reply was something like -- "I'm not sure who it is, but it's gonna be big."
Not that I was prophetic or anything of the sort, but I have pretty much always been a lover of music and can usually tell whether or not a song will have staying power. And that one did.
But I digress.
Back in the late sixties a group of musicians, singers and songwriters use to hang out at a club in Los Angeles called The Troubadour. Folks like Jeff Hanna (one of the founding members of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther, Bernie Leadon, Linda Ronstadt, and some others you may or may not recognize, spent a lot of time there playing their music and "honing their craft" as it were. Even some of the pioneers of contemporary Christian music were there; folks like Randy Stonehill, Phil Keaggy, Keith Green, and others.
From all I can gather, The Troubadour was sort of a proving ground; a place to bounce your own lyrical and musical ideas off folks you saw as peers and really trusted; a place to nurture your musical dreams.
Out of that group of young dreamers came the aforementioned Nitty Gritty Dirt band, Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Ponies, Poco, and the Flying Burrito Brothers, among others. One of the most famous rock bands to emerge from musical garden known as The Troubadour was a band called, simply, The Eagles.
The founding members of The Eagles included Leadon, who could play almost any stringed instrument, bass player and vocalist Randy Meisner, smooth throated drummer and vocalist Don Henley, and a young guitarist and singer-songwriter named Glenn Frey.
The rest, they say, is musical history. And on that day the song that had captured attention of a 15 year-old singer and songwriter was "Take it Easy."
Several years later I found myself standing on "that" corner in Winslow, Arizona and remembering the first time I heard the song on the radio. I also was reminded just how much influence that music had on my own music.
Glenn Frey died this past weekend, but his music lives on. May he eternally know that peaceful easy feeling he sang about so often. And may the spirit of The Troubadour live on.