By Christopher Scapelliti
The Eagles joined together with musical friends for a heartfelt tribute to founding member Glenn Frey at the Grammys on Monday, February 15.
Eagles members Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit teamed up with founding guitarist Bernie Leadon and Jackson Browne for a performance of “Take It Easy,” the song that Browne and Frey wrote and which, in 1972 became the group’s first hit.
The seminal California-rock tune began life as a Browne composition, but when he was unable to finish it, Frey asked if he could take over and bring it to completion.
“He kept after me to finish it,” Browne explained in an interview years ago, “and finally offered to finish it himself. And after a couple of times when I declined to have him finish my song, I said, ‘All right.’ I finally thought, ‘This is ridiculous. Go ahead and finish it. Do it.’ And he finished it in spectacular fashion. And, what’s more, arranged it in a way that was far superior to what I had written.”
Frey brought the finished song to his new group, Eagles, and it became their first single. Released on May 1, 1972, the song peaked at Number 12—an auspicious beginning for a group that would go on to become one of music’s most successful acts.
Under the circumstances, “Take It Easy” would seem an obvious choice for a song to honor Frey, who died on January 18 at age 67 from complications of rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia. Explaining the decision, Eagles’ longtime manager Irving Azoff told the Los Angeles Times, “We wanted something simple and elegant, and in discussing it with the family, we wanted an uptempo moment.”