Randy Meisner, bass player in the classic lineup of Californian country rock band Eagles, has died after suffering from a chronic illness. The band, which counted Meisner as a member from 1971 through 1977, confirmed Meisner’s passing in a post on social media.
“The Eagles are sad to report that founding member, bassist, and vocalist, Randy Meisner, passed away last night (July 26) in Los Angeles at age 77, due to complications from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease (COPD),” they wrote, while sharing a photograph of Meisner with fellow Eagles co-founders, Glenn Frey, Don Henley and Bernie Leadon.
Eagles – ‘Take It to the Limit’
Prior to becoming an Eagle, Meisner played bass in the pioneering country rock band Poco alongside former Buffalo Springfield members Jim Messina and Richie Furay. He appeared on the band’s 1969 debut LP, Pickin’ Up the Pieces, but quit before it was released. After session stints with James Taylor and Waylon Jennings, Meisner was asked to join Linda Ronstadt’s backing band in 1971, which also included Frey, Henley and Leadon.
The quartet formed Eagles in 1971 and signed with fledgling label, Asylum Records, run by a 20-something David Geffen. Meisner was a core member of the group through all of their best-known and most successful albums, including 1973’s Desperado, 1975’s One of These Nights and 1976’s Hotel California.
Meisner co-wrote and performed lead vocals on the One of These Nights single, ‘Take It to the Limit’, which peaked at #4 on the US Billboard Hot 100. He entirely composed ‘Try and Love Again’ from Hotel California, another song to feature his lead vocals.
After quitting the Eagles in 1977, Meisner launched a solo career, releasing his self-titled debut in 1978, also via Asylum. The album included a retread of ‘Take It to the Limit’ and covers of Brill Building staples ‘It Hurts to Be in Love’ and ‘Save the Last Dance for Me’. Two more solo albums were to follow – 1980’s One More Song and a second self-titled effort in 1982 – though none came close to matching the success of his former band.
Meisner and the rest of the Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, and Meisner rejoined the band for a one-off performance. Frey passed away in 2016, while Joe Walsh replaced Leadon in the band in 1975. Walsh and Henley continue to tour as the Eagles to this day.
“Randy was an integral part of the Eagles and instrumental in the early success of the band,” the band said in its statement responding to Meisner’s death. “His vocal range was astonishing, as is evident on his signature ballad, ‘Take It to the Limit’.”