“Peaceful Easy Feeling”

“Peaceful Easy Feeling”

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story Behind the Song

Jack Tempchin
“Peaceful Easy Feeling”

Written by Jack Tempchin
Recorded by the Eagles

I was playing the coffee house circuit, folk music clubs, in San Diego where I grew up. A friend made a poster with quotes about me, all lies that he made up and attributed to various famous people. The poster found its way to a coffee house in El Centro, California. I guess the owner believed it, because he hired me.

It was a small club in a mini mall. It was my first time in the desert and the view of the stars was amazing. I was attracted to a waitress there, but unfortunately I guess she didn’t feel the same way about me because she went home — without me. I wound up sleeping on the floor in the club with my guitar instead of the girl. It was then that I started writing “Peaceful Easy Feeling” on the back of the poster my friend made. Some verses weren’t good at all, but I did get the phrase “peaceful easy feeling.”

I went back to San Diego where I was living in a big house with a lot of other guys, music hippies like myself. We’d sit in front of the picture window and watch the beautiful girls on the bus stop bench and fall in love with them until their bus came. We talked in those days about how love never seems to show up until you stop looking for it. But, as young guys, we were unable to stop looking for love even for one day.

I went to a street fair in Old Town and saw a girl with turquoise earrings against her dark skin. I never spoke with her but I put her in the first line of the song. I guess I was trying to distill the beauty of every girl I saw into words on paper and then into a song.

In those days I carried my $13 Stella guitar (that I bought in a pawn shop) with me everywhere I went. I wrote the last verse of the song in the parking lot of the Der Wienerschnitzel fast food restaurant on Washington Street in San Diego, which is still there today 37 years later.

Jackson Browne, Glenn Frey and J.D. Souther were helping me to hook up in L.A. I was staying at Jackson’s and sitting in his piano room playing my new song. Glenn Frey heard it and asked what it was. He said he had a new band (the Eagles) that had only been together for eight days and he wanted to know if I’d mind if they worked it up.

The next day he brought me a cassette of what they had done with it. It was so good I couldn’t believe it. A few months later, they went to the UK and recorded their first album. When they got back, Glenn played some of the cuts for me, “Take It Easy,” “Witchy Woman,” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling.” I knew it was the best record I had ever heard.

That same year, in 1972, my girlfriend and I traveled in a Volkswagen bus across the U.S. Halfway up the California Coast, in somebody’s kitchen that we met on the road, I heard “Peaceful Easy Feeling” playing over the airwaves for the first time. It was coming out of a small transistor radio that was sitting on top of the refrigerator.

Since then the song has found a life of its own in the big world, like a kid who leaves home and does great things.

“Peaceful Easy Feeling”

I like the way your sparkling earrings lay

against your skin, it’s so brown

and I wanna sleep with you

in the desert tonight

with a billion stars all around

’cause I gotta peaceful easy feeling

and I know you won’t let me down

’cause I’m already standing on the ground.

And I found out a long time ago

what a woman can do to your soul

Ah, but she can’t take you anyway

You don’t already know how to go

and I gotta peaceful, easy feeling

and I know you won’t let me down

’cause I’m already standing on the ground.

I get this feeling I may know you

as a lover and a friend

but this voice keeps whispering

in my other ear, tells me

I may never see you again.

’cause I get a peaceful, easy feeling

and I know you won’t let me down

’cause I’m already standing on the ground

’cause I’m already standing…

on the ground.

Lyrics and Music by Jack Tempchin. © Warner Bros Publishing

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