The Eagles! Their Smash Hit Debut Album! The Iconic “Winslow Arizona” Statue!

“There it was, the sound. Extraordinary blend of voices, wonderful harmony sound, just stunning.”

March 1972 --- The rock band The Eagles rest in a desert valley.  The Eagles were the most popular band of the seventies and their reunion tour in the nineties was also very successful. --- Image by © Henry Diltz/CORBIS

March 1972 — The rock band The Eagles rest in a desert valley. The Eagles were the most popular band of the seventies and their reunion tour in the nineties was also very successful. — Image by © Henry Diltz/CORBIS

Yes, when listeners heard this band’s gorgeous harmonies, a new sound in country rock music was created!

“Take it easy, take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy”

The image above is from the brilliant Photographer Henry Diltz, who captured The Eagles on the cusp of their terrific debut as a band in 1972 – the beginning of a musical ride that has seen the band achieve iconic status!


Meet The “Eagles!”

The Eagles released their debut album in 1972 – and considering it was one of the album’s credited with creating the “southern california sound”, it was actually recorded in London’s Olympic Studios with producer Glyn Johns.

don-henley-with linda ronstadtjpg

I posted a story of how the band got together, with Linda Ronstadt there at the beginning – you can read that here:

The Eagles first album

The Birth Of The Band!

Here’s how the first album came about. In 1971, the band had just been formed and signed by David Geffen, who then sent them to Aspen, Colorado to rehearse and write material. For their first album, Glyn Johns was chosen as the producer by Glenn Frey.

Eagles Producer Glyn Johns

Johns had a great record of engineering and producing albums for groups such as The Rolling Stones, The Who and Led Zeppelin.

According to wikipedia, “Johns was invited by Geffen to see the band perform at a club in Colorado in December 1971.Johns, however, was not impressed by the band’s live performance, thinking that the band was confused and lacking in cohesion — Frey wanted it to be a rock & roll band while Bernie Leadon wanted a country feel — and Johns declined to produce the album.Johns was persuaded by Geffen to have a second listen in a rehearsal setting in Los Angeles, but Johns did not change his opinion of the band until all four started singing harmonies with acoustic guitar on a ballad written by Meisner, “Take The Devil”. Johns was impressed by their harmony singing, and later said:

“There it was, the sound. Extraordinary blend of voices, wonderful harmony sound, just stunning.”

Eagles debut album

Johns was right: the harmonies that came from Henley, Frey, Meisner and Leadon were truly extraordinary, and this first album combines Frey’s interest in rock with Leadon’s country vibe, plus Meisner’s poetic falsetto and of course, Henley’s instinctive feel for a classic hook.

Eagles first album trivia

Let’s take a look at this iconic debut album, which begins with what many consider to be the band’s signature song:

Take It Easy single

“Take It Easy”

“Take it easy, take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy”

“Take It Easy” was written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey, and was the band’s first single. It peaked at No. 12 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, and has since been selected as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.”

winslow arizona

The Making Of A Legend!

According to wikipedia:

“Jackson Browne originally began writing “Take It Easy” in 1971 for his own debut album but was having difficulty finishing the song. His friend and then-neighbor Glenn Frey had heard an early version and later asked Browne about it. Browne then played the unfinished second verse that begins with “Well, I’m a-standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona…”, and Frey finished the verse with “It’s a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me.” Browne was very happy with the result and suggested that they co-write the song.”

More on Winslow, Arizona down below, but back to the album, with a second track that Don Henley and Bernie Leadon turned into a huge hit as well:


“Witchy Woman”

The next song on the album was the band’s first top ten single, reaching #9 on the charts.

Here is how the song came about – guitarist Bernie Leadon first started writing “Witchy Woman” while he was a member of the Flying Burrito Brothers. After joining the Eagles, Leadon and Don Henley finished the song together.

Henley said of the origin:

“[Leadon] came over one day and started playing this strange, minor-key riff that sounded sort of like a Hollywood movie version of Indian music — you know, the kind of stuff they play when the Indians ride up on the ridge while the wagon train passes below. It had a haunting quality, and I thought it was interesting, so we put a rough version of it down on a cassette tape.”

History Of The Eagles BErnie Leadon Don Henley

One of the great moments from the “History of the Eagles” tour is when Leadon is introduced near the top of the show, and joins Henley onstage for a live version of this song.

Here is a rare live version from the 70’s:

I loved that Leadon re-joined the group for the “History” tour…here is my review of that show, with some clips from the concert:

Glenn Frey songwriter

Two Glenn Frey songs are next: the raucous “Chug All Night”, then the soft ballad “Most of Us Are Sad”…a beautiful song written by Frey but sung by Randy Meisner…here is an audio-only clip:

“Nightingale” is next, written by Jackson Browne and Don Henley – I love the tight, rocking nature of this song, with great harmonies…

Eagles first album

“Train Leaves Here This Morning” is from Bernie Leadon and former bandmate Gene Clark. Probably the most country-sounding song on the album, again with beautiful harmonies near the end.

Randy Meisner The Eagles

“Take the Devil” from Randy Meisner is next, then the fun country-infused “Earlybird” from Leadon and Meisner. I love the “banjo and bird” riff on the song.

Peaceful Easy Feeling the Eagles

“Peaceful Easy Feeling”

The other iconic Eagles song on this album is “Peaceful Easy Feeling”, written by their friend and collaborator Jack Tempchin.

“I like the way your sparkling earrings lay,
Against your skin, it’s so brown.
And I wanna sleep with you in the desert tonight
With a billion stars all around.

‘Cause I got a peaceful easy feeling,
And I know you won’t let me down
’cause I’m already standing on the ground.”

I’ve mentioned the great singer/songwriter Jack Tempchin before – his masterful way with a song is on display here…and look atthe band performing the song live on TV in 1974:

Randy Meisner’s “Tryin'” wraps up the album, a terrific collection of songs that signaled a major new force in music had arrived.


What An Iconic Album Cover!

Credits for the terrific album cover go to artist Gary Burde,n with incredible photography by Henry Diltz!. In the documentary “History of the Eagles”, Glenn Frey revealed that the band were all on peyote when the pictures for the album cover were shot in Joshua Tree National Park!


The Album’s “Oops! Moment!

The album was initially designed as a gatefold album that would further open up into a poster, however Geffen thought it would be confusing, and glued it together so that it would not open, and the gatefold image of the band members at Joshua Tree then came out the wrong side up!


The Eagles Soar!

The Eagles’ debut album reached No. 22 on the charts and went platinum. More importantly, the album introduced a “southern california sound” that cemented the band’s place in music history. In 2012, the album was ranked number 368 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Now, back to Winslow, Arizona…

winslow arizona statue

“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
Come on, baby, don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me
We may lose and we may win, though we will never be here again
So open up I’m climbin’ in, so take it easy”

Jackson Browne Glenn Frey

The Legend Of Winslow!

Here is the story behind the iconic lyrics of “Take It Easy:

According to Frey, the second verse of “Take It Easy” refers to the time when Jackson Browne’s car broke down in Winslow, Arizona on one of his trips to Sedona, and he had to spend a long day in Winslow.


In 1999, the city of Winslow created a fun “fan-friendly” photo op in the town – a life-size bronze statue and mural commemorating the song at the “Standin’ on the Corner” Park.

Winslow Arizona statue

Since Frey’s tragic death, the town has added a statue of him as well…you can see that here:

Of course, this smash debut album led everyone to expect the hits to keep coming – but the band made a disastrous decision to do a concept album next:

Eagles Desperado

“Desperado” was a commercial failure when it was released next – but of course, now stands as another towering musical achievement by the band.

Click here to see the “Desperado” debacle:

Don’t worry: the band focused on getting back in the groove, which led to their first #1 single:

eagles best of my love single

The Eagles soared back with “On The Border” – but that didn’t keep them from firing Glyn Johns! Read about what happened during the making of the album here:

And let me know your favorite song off of the debut album!


Categories: 70's Music, Art, Awards, Books / Media, Classic Rock, Los Angeles, Memoirs, Music, Obscure Music, Talent/Celebrities, TV Show, Uncategorized

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12 replies

  1. The hits–“Take It Easy”, “Peaceful Easy Feeling”, and “Witchy Woman”–are all excellent, and they all feature some of Bernie’s best guitar work. However, my favorite song from “Eagles” is “Most Of Us Are Sad”. It’s a nice ballad, and I like Randy’s singing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That was a great year for me. I discovered The Eagle with the UK release of ‘Take it Easy’, followed by hearing Steely Dan’s ‘Reelin in the Years’. I became a bigger fan of Steely Dan than The Eagles, but still loved their work, including Jackson Browne’s solo work and some of Henley’s too.
    If I was ever in Winslow, I would have to take that photo opportunity.
    Best wishes, Pete.


  3. Awesome post and tribute, John. Winslow AZ isn’t that far from me. I love the statue. A lot of fine songs. Have you listened to Don Henley’s new album? I like it. It was so sad to hear of Glenn Frey’s passing this year. Linda Ronstadt’s cover of Desperado is a favorite of mine.



  1. The Eagles End Their “Long Run!” Their Last 70’s Music! Hit Singles! Band Fights! The End Of An Era… – johnrieber
  2. NEW Live Eagles CD! My “Lives Of Outlaw Men” Review! Different Version of “Tequila Sunrise”! Classic Eagles Live! – johnrieber
  3. The Eagles Debut Album! “Take It Easy!” 3 Things You Didn’t Know About Winslow, Arizona! Glenn Frey Statue Now As Well! – johnrieber
  4. The Eagles! Album By Album! My Favorite Deep Cut Album Tracks! – johnrieber

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