Randy Meisner, a founding member of the Eagles known for his high harmonies on popular songs like "Take It Easy" and "The Best of My Love," as well as singing lead on the ballad "Take It to the Limit," has died, the band announced on Thursday. He was 77.
Meisner died on Wednesday night in Los Angeles due to complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as stated by the Eagles in an official statement. In the years leading up to his death, Meisner faced numerous health issues, and in 2016, he experienced a personal tragedy when his wife, Lana Rae Meisner, accidentally shot herself and died.
Sound of Silence
"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)," the band announced on Thursday on its website.
"Randy was an integral part of the Eagles and instrumental in the early success of the band. His vocal range was astonishing, as is evident on his signature ballad, 'Take It to the Limit,'" the statement continued.
Meisner, born on March 8, 1946, in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, was a founding member of the Eagles. In 1971, he co-founded the band alongside Glenn Frey, Don Henley, and Bernie Leadon.
As a crucial member, Meisner contributed to several of the group's iconic albums, such as "Eagles," "Desperado," "On The Border," "One of These Nights," and "Hotel California."
His talents as a bassist and vocalist, especially on tracks like "Take It Easy," "The Best of My Love," and "Take It to the Limit," played a significant role in shaping the Eagles' distinctive sound and contributed to their immense success.
Meisner's objections led to a backstage argument with Glenn Frey during a concert in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the summer of 1977, which ultimately resulted in Meisner leaving the Eagles soon after.
The Eagles famously replaced Meisner with bassist and singer Timothy B. Schmit. Interestingly, Schmit had previously succeeded Meisner in another country-rock group, Poco.
Schmit became an integral part of the Eagles and contributed to their later albums and continued success.
"All that stuff and all the arguing amongst the Eagles is over now. Well, at least for me," Meisner told Smooth Jazz Now in 2011.
Following his time with Poco, Meisner joined Rick Nelson's Stone Canyon Band as their bassist and vocalist. Throughout his career, Meisner also released a number of solo albums, including "Randy Meisner" (1978), "One More Song" (1980), another self-titled album "Randy Meisner" (1982), and a compilation titled "Love Me or Leave Me Alone" in 2004.
In the recent years leading up to his death, Meisner faced numerous afflictions and challenges. In 2016, he went through a devastating personal tragedy after his wife, Lana Rae Meisner, accidentally shot herself and died.
Meanwhile, Meisner was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and faced significant alcohol-related problems, as indicated by court records and comments made during a 2015 hearing. In response to his situation, a judge ordered him to undergo continuous medical care.
Meisner, a shy Nebraskan, struggled with the conflicting desires of fame and family life.
During the 'Hotel California' tour, he was ill and homesick, compounded by the difficulties in his first marriage falling apart. Despite possessing a distinctive nasally tenor showcased in 'Take It to the Limit,' Meisner was hesitant to embrace the spotlight.
As a solo artist, Meisner didn't achieve the same level of success as the Eagles, but he did have some hits, including 'Hearts On Fire' and 'Deep Inside My Heart.' Additionally, he contributed to records by artists such as Joe Walsh, James Taylor, and Dan Fogelberg, among others, showcasing his talent and versatility as a musician.
Meisner is survived by his three children — Dana, Heather and Eric — with his first wife, Jennifer Lee Barton.