“Take it Easy,” a mega-hit for The Eagles and written primarily by Jackson Browne, was the song everybody sang and hummed when the band played The Mississippi River Festival on the campus of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville just across the big river from St. Louis.
As the youngest photographer and reporter on The Telegraph in Alton, Illinois, I was assigned to cover the festival, which featured rock acts and concerts by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra under a big tent on a sloping field of the campus.
“Man, this is a wild place,” Frey said as he smoked on a cigarette and drank beer backstage after the show with the band.
Interviews with bands like the Eagles were easygoing affairs during the early 70s and Frey talked about the desert and music as I snapped photos and took notes. He passed me a cold beer and we talked into the night.
Frey was from Detroit and hooked up with Don Henley in Los Angeles in the early 70s, along with Bernie Leadon and others to form the Eagles. Take it easy was a road song with lyrics like:
Well I’m a runnin’ down the road try’n to loosen my load
I’ve got seven women on my mind
Four that want to own me, two that want to 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 standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona
Such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl my Lord in a flat-bed Ford
Slowin’ down to take a look at me
Frey and other members of the band were around my age. That was something to think about then and now it is something to think about now.
Frey died of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia, the band announced on Monday. He was 67, a year younger than me.
I remember another song he sang for the Eagles:
And I got a peaceful, easy feeling
And I know you won’t let me down
‘Cause I’m already standing on the ground
Take it Easy Glenn Frey. I remember that peaceful easy interview after a concert in Southern Illinois so many years ago and you will be missed.