The first time Glenn Frey heard “Peaceful Easy Feeling” was at Jackson Browne’s house in Echo Park. “He said he had a new band that had only been together for eight days,” songwriter Jack Tempchin recalled. “He wanted to know if I’d mind if they worked it up.”
The Eagles began as Linda Ronstadt’s backing band, but after a short tour in 1971 they splintered off to form their own group. “It was like people in love, it was the greatest thing to see that band when they first formed,” said Ronstadt. Signed by David Geffen’s label Asylum Records, the Eagles became an essential part of the country rock scene that was blossoming in California.
“Peaceful Easy Feeling” became the third single from their 1972 debut album, alongside “Take It Easy” and “Witchy Woman.” They performed it on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert two years later in front of a desert backdrop, which you can watch here. A young Frey, already in his signature sports uniform, strums his acoustic guitar alongside bassist Randy Meisner (who’s also in stylish sports attire). Guitarist Bernie Leadon glides through a breezy solo that lifts the crowd, even though they’re already standin’ on the ground.
Despite the Eagles’ effort to produce a harder sound in the years to come, the band has kept this very mellow song in their rotation ever since. Frey, who died three years ago today, spoke of the hit in the 2013 definitive documentary History of the Eagles. When Meisner wanted his hit “Take It to the Limit” taken out of the band’s set during the Hotel California tour, Frey said, “I called him up and I said, ‘Do you think I like singing ‘Take It Easy’ and ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’ every night? I’m tired of those songs. But there’s people in the audience who’ve been waiting years to see us do those songs.’”