The Eagles announced on Thursday that Randy Meisner, one of its founding members, has p@ssed away at the age of 77.
The Eagles released a statement stating that Meisner p@ssed away on Wednesday night in Los Angeles due to complications from chronic obstructive lung disease.
Former bandmate Don Felder referred to the bassist as “the sweetest man in the music business” and he supplied high harmonies to classic songs like “Take It Easy” and “The Best of My Love” in addition to taking the lead on the waltz-tempo ballad Take It to the Limit.
Meisner had recently dealt with a number of illnesses, as well as a personal tragedy when his wife, Lana Rae Meisner, fatally shot herself in 2016.
Early in the 1970s, Meisner formed a band with Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Bernie Leadon that would go on to become one of the most well-known groups in history.
“Randy was an integral part of the Eagles and instrumental in the early success of the band,” the Eagles’ statement said. “His vocal range was astonishing, as is evident on his signature ballad, Take It to the Limit.”
You can read the statement of Eagles below:
The Eagles released a string of successful singles and albums over the following ten years, starting with Take It Easy and continuing with songs like Desperado, Hotel California, and Life in the Fast Lane, among others, as they transitioned from country music to hard rock. Although the Eagles’ two most well-known albums, Hotel California and Their Greatest Hits (1971–75), were criticized by many critics as being slick and shallow, they nevertheless achieved legendary status.
The Eagles, led by the composers Henley and Frey, were initially categorized as “mellow” and “easy listening.” However, by the time of their third album, On the Border, which was released in 1974, they had added a rock guitarist named Felder and were moving away from country and bluegrass.
The band’s most well-known album, Hotel California, was released in 1976, and Meisner stayed on until then. However, he left the group not long after.
During the Hotel California tour, Meisner, a bashful Nebraskan divided between celebrity and family life, had been sickly and homesick and was resentful of being in the spotlight. Timothy B. Schmit, who succeeded him, along with Henley, Joe Walsh, and Frey, who p@ssed away in 2016, remained with the group for decades.
Meisner never achieved the same level of fame as the Eagles as a solo artist but did have hits with Hearts on Fire and Deep Inside My Heart and contributed to music by Walsh, James Taylor, Dan Fogelberg, and other artists.
Meisner had three children from his two marriages, the first of which occurred when he was still in his teens.
Meisner, a sharecropper’s son and a classical violinist’s grandson, began playing in local bands as a young adult. By the end of the 1960s, he had relocated to California and, together with Richie Furay and Jimmy Messina, had joined the country rock band Poco. However, he would recall being upset that Furay quit the band before their debut album was out because he wouldn’t allow him hear the studio mix; Furay was replaced by Timothy B. Schmit.
Meisner played on Taylor’s Sweet Baby James album, supported Ricky Nelson, and made friends with Henley and Frey while they were all members of Linda Ronstadt’s band. They created the Eagles with Ronstadt’s approval, got signed to David Geffen’s Asylum Records label, and put out their self-titled debut album in 1972.
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The most of the time, Frey and Henley sang lead, although Meisner was the driving force behind Take It the Limit. It first debuted on the 1975 album One of These Nights and went on to become a top five smash. Etta James and Willie Nelson also performed it as a duet.
“The purpose of the whole Eagles thing to me was that combination and the chemistry that made all the harmonies just sound perfect,” Meisner told in 2015. “The funny thing is after we made those albums I never listened to them and it is only when someone comes over or I am at somebody’s house and it gets played in the background that is when I’ll tell myself, ‘Damn, these records are good.”