As expected, the group delivered a poignant rendition of “Take It Easy,” filled with brisk, buoyant guitars and stellar, soaring harmonies. While “Take It Easy” began as a Browne original, it became the Eagles’ debut single — and seminal folk-rock hit — in 1972 after Frey fleshed out the second verse with the singular line, “It’s a girl my lord in a flatbed Ford, slowing down to take a look at me.”
While the song’s historical significance made it fit to honor Frey alone, the 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.”
Frey died of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia on January 18th at age 67. Prior to the Grammys, the rocker’s passing elicited a slew of live tributes, including Vince Gill’s emotional rendition of “Peaceful Easy Feeling” at the Grand Ol’ Opry. Elsewhere, both Browne and Bruce Springsteen performed “Take It Easy” in Frey’s honor.