Most people around the country would have never heard of Winslow without the intervention of The Eagles, Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey.
The most recognizable line in The Eagles' hit "Take It Easy" famously name-checks the 9,600-person city — "Standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona / And such a fine sight to see / It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed / Ford slowin' down to take a look at me."
With the news of Frey's death breaking Monday, Eagles fans have flocked to Winslow to pay tribute to Frey, leaving flowers, candles, stuffed animals, and cards. The city, which sits on Historic Route 66, erected a small monument to the song in 1999, featuring a bronze statue (created by artist Ron Adamson) of an easygoing man holding a guitar in front of a two-story mural painted by California artist John Pugh. On the mural is the reflection of a blond woman driving a red flatbed truck, her head turned towards the man on the corner. An actual flatbed truck sits in a parking space just in front of the statue. The city named it Standin' on the Corner Park, though it remains unclear why the city chose to tweak the actual lyric for the park name.
The move was a pretty cynical attempt to attract tourism to a city that had fallen on hard times in the past 40 years, but it worked. Nowadays, an estimated 100,000 people stop through the town to take pictures with the statue. A store clerk named Emma at a nearby gift shop told the Los Angeles Times that economic boost from the park is significant.
"Maybe it doesn't have magical powers, but it's been like a godsend to us," Emma said. "It's helped us so much."
And though Frey sang the song that sparked interest in Winslow unseen since a bypass in 1979 rerouted traffic around the town, it was actually Browne that wrote the original line. In a 2003 interview with Cameron Crowe, Frey gave Browne most of the credit for the song.
"Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther, and I all lived at 1020 Laguna in Echo Park. J.D. and I shared a $60-a-month, one-room apartment — a couch and kind of a bed with a curtain in front of it. Right underneath us in an even smaller studio apartment was Jackson," Frey said.
"I told him that I really liked it," Frey continued. “'What was that, man? What a cool tune that is.' He started playing it for me and said, 'Yeah, but I don’t know — I’m stuck.' So he played the second unfinished verse and I said, 'It’s a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me.' That was my contribution to 'Take It Easy,' really, just finishing the second verse. Jackson was so thrilled. He said, 'Okay! We co-wrote this.' But it’s certainly more of him. Sometimes, you know, it’s the package without the ribbon. He already had the lines about Winslow, Arizona. He’d had car trouble and broken down there on one of his trips to Sedona. He spent a long day in Winslow…. I don’t know that we could have ever had a better opening song on our first album."
Check out some more pictures of the park below.
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