Skip to content
Celebrating 27 years in business in 2024.
Winslow Arizona Sign | Winslow Arizona Eagles Song City Branding Case Study | DeWinter Marketing & PR

City Branding Case Study: Winslow Arizona Eagles Song Takes Little Town To Rock-and-Roll Fame

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

When The Eagles released the song “Take It Easy” in 1972, there was a reference in the lyrics to a tiny town in Arizona with less than 10,000 residents. The Winslow Arizona Eagles song put that tiny town on the map forever – and the city managers deployed brilliant city branding to capitalize on the town’s new-found fame. The Winslow, Arizona city branding program is a study in city branding best practices.

Here are the lyrics that put Winslow, Arizona on the map:

“Well, I’m standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.
And such a fine sight to see:
It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford
Slowin’ down to take a look at me.”

History of the Winslow Arizona Eagles Song Is A Classic Entrepreneurial Story

First, let’s take a quick look at the rock-and-roll history that made Winslow, Arizona famous.

Back in the 1970s, songwriters Glenn Frey and Jackson Browne were struggling musicians living in cheap apartments in Los Angeles. They were co-writing the rock-and-roll classic “Take It Easy,” but Jackson Brown got stuck in one area of the lyrics. Browne had once been stranded in Winslow, Arizona, and had included a reference to Winslow – but he was having trouble figuring out how to end that phrase. Glenn Frey came up with the second half of the verse and the rest is history – at least for the town of Winslow Arizona.

Take It Easy peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on July 22, 1972.

How Winslow, Arizona Managers Took Advantage of The Eagles Song Opportunity

Prior to being made famous in an Eagles song, the town of Winslow, Arizona was starting to fade. The construction of Interstate Highway I-40 bypassed the town, located on old Route 66. As a result, the town started to dwindle and die.

In 1999, city managers decided to leverage the reference in “Take It Easy” to attract tourists. Here are the brilliant city branding strategies they deployed:

Winslow Arizona | Winslow Arizona Eagles Song | Winslow Arizona City Branding Case Study | DeWinter Marketing & PRA New Downtown Park: City managers opened a park in Winslow called Standin’ on the Corner Park. The park included a mural of a girl in a flatbed Ford truck and a life-sized bronze statue of a man dressed in 1970s-style clothing. This made the park a photo opportunity, and it was part of a plan to lure tourists off the freeway and into downtown Winslow. The strategy worked. To this day, people drive into Winslow, park their cars, and walk over to have their picture taken by the statue. The city manager now reports that tourism in Winslow doubled. Store owners say hundreds of people visit the city each day, and it’s estimated that 100,000 people a year visit Winslow because of the Eagles song.

An Eagles Music Festival: The same year the new park was opened, city planners started a music festival. The first festival was held to simply celebrate the opening of the park. The festival then became annual two-day music event that culminated on the last night of the festival with a performance of an Eagles cover band. The festival now brings 4,000-8,000 people to Winslow each year. Workers at one of the main hotels in town report that people book rooms for the festival for the next year as they’re checking out.

Local Retail Support: Several retail stores adjacent to the Standin’ on the Corner park play Eagles music. Other businesses picked up on the “Standin’ on the Corner” theme, with a motel named “Sleepin’ on the Corner” and a seamstress shop called “Stitchin’ on the Korner.”

A New Glenn Frey Statue: After Glenn Frey’s death in 2016, the town commissioned a new bronze statue of Glenn Frey standing with his hand on a guitar. Fans still come and lay flowers at the base of his statue in Winslow.

A New Visitors Center: The city put in a new visitor center and a local history museum to keep people in town longer than a photo opp.

What Winslow city management did to capitalize on a powerful piece of pop culture is nothing short of brilliant. This tiny town fading away because of the positioning of the new highway used their inclusion in a classic Eagles song to create a presence for the town and bring in roughly 100,000 people per year to Winslow.

The Winslow Arizona city branding program made good use of the Winslow Arizona Eagles song to revitalize the downtown and put their town back on the map.

Need help brainstorming branding opportunities? Contact DeWinter Marketing & PR for help!

Courtney DeWinter is the president & founder of Denver-based DeWinter Marketing & PR in Denver, Colorado. She is a marketing & PR consultant with 25+ years of experience in branding, marketing, public relations, websites & journalism.

Back To Top