‘Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona’ is one American community’s route to revival

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Jackson Browne was a rising singer-songwriter in 1972 when he penned one of the most memorable lines in American music history.

“Well I’m standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona / And such a fine sight to see,” he wrote in the second verse of “Take It Easy.”

Just about every American of a certain vintage can easily recite a young man’s triumphant testimony that follows. 

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“It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford / Slowing down to take a look at me.”

Browne described the origin of the song in an interview with British music site Uncut in 2013.

Winslow, Arizona

Winslow, Arizona was immortalized in “Take It Easy,” the debut single by the Eagles in 1972. Written by Jackson Browne with additions by Glen Frey, it memorably describes a girl “in a flatbed Ford slowing down to take a look” at a man “standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.”  (Standinonthecorner.org)

“I took a road trip in this old beat-up Willys Jeep and I went to Utah and Arizona. On that trip, I started to write ‘Take It Easy,'” he said.

“When I came back, I played it for Glenn Frey, and he asked if the Eagles could cut it when it was done … It was their first single, and what those guys did with it was incredible.”

Frey, among other contributions, finished Browne’s second verse, adding the image of the “girl, my Lord, in the flatbed Ford.”

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The atmospheric, all-American country-rock anthem, complete with quick-picking background banjo, made the Eagles major stars.

Winslow in the early 1970s was a little city of about 8,500 people made bustling by its location on legendary Route 66.

The Eagles by the end of the decade soared into the pantheon of greatest acts in music history. But the little city that gave their first hit wings was effectively wiped off the map.

The Eagles and Jackson Browne

An image of the late Glenn Frey is displayed on a video screen as recording artists, left to right, Bernie Leadon, Timothy B. Schmit, Don Henley (on drum riser), Jackson Browne, Joe Walsh, and Steuart Smith perform onstage during The 58th Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Feb. 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Kevin Winter/WireImage)

Interstate 40 opened in 1979, feeding high-speed traffic north of the city. 

“The freeway bypassed us and then basically downtown Winslow died,” Stephanie Lugo, a board member for the Standing on the Corner Foundation, told Fox News Digital in an interview.

“The freeway bypassed us and then basically downtown Winslow died.”

The same fate befell hundreds of communities along the 2,500 miles of Route 66 that connected Chicago to Los Angeles.

Winslow had something few others had. It had pop-culture immortality, in the image of a young man catching the fancy of a young lady in a truck.

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Standing on the Corner Park, featuring a life-size statue of a man with a guitar between his feet and, presumably, “seven women on my mind,” opened in 1999. 

Winslow might have become just another desert ghost town. 

Winslow, Arizona

Winslow, Arizona at dusk. The Route 66 community nearly became a ghost town when Interstate 40 opened in 1979 and bypassed the city.  (Standin’ on the Corner Foundation)

Instead, it’s a destination for rock fans and selfie seekers from around the world. 

Winslow added a second statue in 2016 of Frey, soon after the singer died.

“It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford / Slowing down to take a look at me.”

Lugo said 300 people or more stop for photographs on any single day. 

“On holidays and weekends, the crowd is nonstop,” she said, “especially in the summer time when kids are out of school.” 

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The park, she added, “definitely helped rebuild our downtown. We have several new restaurants and new shops. The downtown has come back to life.”

Browne certainly had no idea his song would ever be heard, let alone help recapture the glory of a small desert town.

Winslow, Arizona corner

Standin’ on the Corner Park is a tourist attraction in Winslow, Arizona. The community was made famous by its mention in “Take It Easy,” the first hit song for the Eagles in 1972, written by Jackson Browne. (Standin’ on the Corner Foundation)

Among other claims to fame, “Take It Easy” is the first track on the greatest-selling album of all time.

“Eagles: Their Greatest Hits (1971-75)” has sold 38 million certified albums, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. 

It surpassed Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (34 million) for the No. 1 spot in 2018. 

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“Wherever we travel and people ask where we’re from and I tell them, ‘Winslow, Arizona,’ they go, ‘Oh my God! That’s The Eagles’ song,'” said Lugo. 

“They made our town world-famous.”

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