Song Stories

“Take It Easy”

Eagles | 1972

During a break in the recording his first album, Jackson Browne took a road trip across the Southwest, getting a start on "Take It Easy" along the way. When he got back to L.A., Browne played it for Glenn Frey, who asked if his new band the Eagles could record it when it was done. "I said, 'Just finish it,' and he wrote the last verse and turned it into a real song," Browne recalled. "It was their first single, and what those guys did with it was incredible," said Browne. Frey's verse contained the indelible line, "I was standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona," words that helped revitalize that small town, which lost commerce when historic Route 66 was supplanted by Interstate 40, by encouraging tourists to mimic the song's protagonist.

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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