While David Bowie and Glenn Frey’s deaths have hit music fans everywhere hard, the passing of the two icons is particularly significant to Bruce Springsteen. The Boss, who is just a year younger than Frey, tasted his first mainstream success in the early ‘70s — right around the same time as Bowie and Frey.
In honor of the Glenn Frey’s passing, Springsteen performed a heartwarming, acoustic rendition of the Eagles’ 1972 hit Take It Easy during his show in Chicago last night. Midway through the song, E Street Band violinist Soozie Tyrell joined him onstage to give a reflective tinge to the cover. A fan shot video (above) depicts the moving scene at Chicago’s United Center: fans singing along and raising their cell phones and lighters in tribute. Springsteen has actually covered the song before, according to Rolling Stone, at a September 2015 concert in Red Bank, NJ.
The recorded version of the song, which Frey co-wrote with Jackson Browne, also features Frey on lead vocals. Frey was actually the former roommate of Browne, a renowned singer/songwriter in his own right made famous by songs like Runnin’ On Empty and The Pretenders.
In an interview with Cameron Crowe (recalled in a recent Washington Post article), Frey explained that Browne was the main songwriter for the tune, but was stuck on the ending. Frey claims his main contribution to the song that would become Take It Easy was finishing the song’s second verse with the visceral line: ‘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,” said the Eagles guitarist, singer, and co-founder. “Jackson was so thrilled. He said, ‘Okay! We co-wrote this.’ But it’s certainly more of him.” That may have been true for Frey, but the rest of the world knows the song as a seminal piece of Eagles history.
Springsteen is in the beginning stages of his The River Tour in support of 2015’s The Ties That Bind: The River Collection box set. His show in Chicago was the tour’s second date. During his tour opener in Pittsburgh on January 16, he covered David Bowie’s Rebel, Rebel in tribute, as well.