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Take it easy, Jackson Browne
by Asa Butcher
2008-10-09 08:52:21
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#Well, I'm running down the road, tryin' to loosen my load, I've got seven women on my mind, I've got seven women on my mind, four that wanna own me, two that wanna stone me, one says she's a friend of mine…#

Surely everybody knows what line comes next… okay, surely everybody born before 1980 and worships The Eagles knows what line comes next because it has been hard-wired into our DNA and will be passed on to our children like some form of positive hereditary disease! 'Why am I writing about "Take It Easy"?' some of you may be asking, well I have a very simple answer: It is the 60th birthday of Jackson Browne, one of the song's writers.

According to the esteemed Wikipedia, Jackson Browne began writing "Take It Easy" in 1971 for his own debut album Jackson Browne, but Glenn Frey, his friend and then-neighbour, liked it so much that Browne generously allowed him to use it for his new band called The Eagles. "Take It Easy" was the band's first single, released on May 1, 1972, and it was the opening track on the band's debut album Eagles - Browne finally recorded it in 1973 for his second album For Everyman.

Of course, I wasn't even a glint in my dad's eye in 1972 and it would be at least another decade before it was subconsciously inserted into my head through my dad's driving cassettes. It was the 1980s and I had become a glint in my dad's rear-view mirror, the tapes would play on every long-distance car journey leaving my brother and me at the mercy of The Boss, Dire Straits, 1970s rock, The Eagles and more until we couldn't help but like them and tunelessly sing along.

"Take It Easy" was a family driving anthem and it would invariably play at least once on family holidays, often more if Dad had underestimated the number of driving cassettes needed. The song even followed me into my own car as I travelled back and forth from university to home - an incredibly lengthy journey that might let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.

For the turn of the millennium we took a family trip - minus the cassettes - to the West Coast of America. It was a coach tour that took us across California, Nevada, Baja California and, yes you guessed it, Arizona. Absent-mindedly, I was looking at the road map following our route when I noticed that we were only a few inches away from the one-and-only Winslow, Arizona! Well, Dad and I were tempted to jump off the bus and hitch a ride across those few inches, until Mum pointed out the scale… next time, we agreed, next time!

Over the years I have discovered that even though the song is hard-wired in our DNA, there are the occasional mutations that leave you questioning the sanity of the singer. What am I talking about? Well, it is the misheard and frightening twists of the lyrics that some people seem to think Glenn Frey and Jackson Browne wrote. For example, some misheard lyrics include "I'm looking for a lover who won't blow my brother", "Don't let the soundy girl on wheels drive you crazy" or the highly-bizarre "Looking for a rubber that won't blow my blubber!"

I have yet to hear Jackson Browne's version from his second album, but I doubt that his lyrics include any of the last paragraph's mistakes… I truly hope. I wish Jackson Browne a very happy 60th birthday and can only think of one thing that I would write on his birthday card… take it easy!

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