Take It Easy

Written by Troy Howard

09 September 2014

I have a personal confession to make. For many years, I claimed that the famed Eagles song, "Take it Easy" was actually a song by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I was quite sure of it.

I had argued the point many times throughout my teenage and young adult years, pointing out the many similarities to other Lynyrd Skynyrd songs such as "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Freebird". Listen to the meter, the tonality of the drums. The way the bass accented the beat. Clearly these were all the product of the same mind (or group of minds). Who could mistake the sound of Van Zant's voice?

I was often able to convince people of this, or at least cast doubt into their minds, or exhaust the topic until they were no longer interested. I knew they'd go home, look it up in their personal music collection and realize I was correct. I didn't personally own a copy of the song, however. I'd only ever heard it on the radio.

Finally, later in life, during the age of portable pocket-sized internet connected computing devices, I once again started in on this argument with a friend (I think it was a drummer in one of my bands). He laughed, like many people did, at first. Then after he realized I was serious, he stopped me and said, "No. Dude, it's the Eagles. Really…" and proceeded to Google-prove me wrong. I was stymied, questioning my facts, recalling all those previous conversations, wondering if I could really have had it wrong all this time? We finished up band practice, but I was put off-kilter for the rest of the night after that, unease having settled into my heart. I drank a bit too much beer.

Later that evening, at home and in a post-band practice Olympia-induced drunken stupor (or was it Miller High Life? Can't be sure…), I researched the topic online. In fury, I dug and dug for some proof that Lynyrd Skynyrd had, in fact, written the song. Perhaps it was just recorded and popularized by the Eagles, or perhaps the opposite: written by the Eagles and performed/recorded by Lynyrd Skynyrd? Nope. Nada. No connection whatsoever.

Turns out, there was one interesting thing about the song. Perhaps it was the thing that stuck out to me. I really did notice the song was quite different from the rest of The Eagle's repertoire. Specifically, the vocals.

Well, there's a reason for that. The famous Eagles song was co-written, and sung by Jackson Browne, not Glenn Frey. So, sure, it doesn't make it a Lynyrd Skynyrd song, but it is a rather aberrant Eagles song.

It's one of the very few songs, that if I am ever forced to sing at karaoke, where I know all the words and can kind of sing it in tune.

Moral of the story: Sometimes you can be really, really wrong about something, but still feel absolutely sure you are right.

In fact that feeling of surety can linger for quite some time, and cause you to search for some rationale or other evidence to attempt to prove your original idea. Being wrong is hard, even when the facts are really clear. However, being wrong CAN lead to some unexpected-but-useful life skills… like obsessing so much over a song that you know all the words at karaoke.