40 Years of Peaceful Easy Feeling - The Story Behind The Song

“Peaceful Easy Feeling” as told by Jack Tempchin

Written by Jack Tempchin.  Recorded by the Eagles.  Released as a single on Asylum Records 12/1/72

“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.”

Then 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.

Next, I went to a street fair in Old Town San Diego 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. Finally, I wrote the last verse of the song in the parking lot of the Der Weinerschnitzel fast food restaurant on Washington Boulevard in San Diego, which is still there today 40 years later.

Jackson Browne, Glenn Frey and J.D. Souther were helping me to hook up in L.A. I was staying at Jackson Browne’s house 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, Glenn 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 it's own in the big world, like a kid who leaves home and does great things...” -Midnight Jack


On December 1st, 2012, on the 40th anniversary of the song's release as a single by the Eagles, The Honorable Mayor Jerry Saunders of San Diego, CA Officially Proclaimed 12/1 as 'Peaceful Easy Feeling Day' in America's Finest City. The Mayor's Office presented Jack Tempchin with the framed Proclamation (below) at the Hillcrest Der Wienerschnitzel where he completed the song. Wienerschnitzel distributed free Polish Dogs to all attendees, presented Tempchin with a gold-plated wiener (seriously!) and dedicated a plaque at the table commemorating the tune's completion.

See a photo of Jack's original lyric sheet (currently on exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) at his official fan blog- MyPeacefulEasyFeeling.com, main website- PeacefulEasyFeeling.com and at Facebook.com/JackTempchin

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Tags: Asylum Records, Eagles, Glenn Frey, Glyn Johns, J.D. Souther, Jack Tempchin, Jackson Browne, Peaceful Easy Feeling, Peaceful Easy Feeling Day, Polish dog, More…San Diego, Take It Easy, Wienerschnitzel, Witchy Woman

Comment by Kyla Fairchild on December 28, 2012 at 11:37pm

Comment by TenLayers on December 30, 2012 at 3:59pm

Loved this

Comment by Karl Bischoff on December 31, 2012 at 5:41am

Great  to hear the background on this song. Thanks for posting.

Comment by Hal Bogerd on December 31, 2012 at 5:47am

Great story!

Comment by Eric Dahlin on January 4, 2013 at 5:14am

You wrote a good one there Jack!

Comment by photo cowboy on January 4, 2013 at 5:35am

great to hear the background of this song - even gives more appreciation of that first album of theirs - thank you for sharing - 

Comment by Steve Rauworth on January 4, 2013 at 5:45am

You and the Eagles captured something a lot of us were feeling. Hope you found your love.

Comment by John McClure on January 4, 2013 at 6:59am
Played the song in bands and as a solo/duet act since 1974. Usually keyed it a little higher.
Comment by CowboySlim on January 4, 2013 at 7:14am

Jack, I used to hang at that Weinershnitzel, too.  I used to wait for the #3 bus, which stopped in front of the Der Weinershnitzel,  to take me downtown, where I'd transfer to the "O" bus out to Ocean Beach.  (They changed to all numbered buses a few years after that)  Seems to me that even back then, a Stella guitar was not held in the highest regard.  And they always had those Black Diamond strings...the ones we cut our fingers on...anyhow, you brought back some really fond and distant memories.  Thanks.  >CowboySlim/p>

Comment by Jack Tempchin on January 4, 2013 at 11:19am


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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.