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Randy Meisner, co-founding member of the Eagles and vocalist on the band’s first major hit, “Take It to the Limit,” passed away late Wednesday night at 77 years old, according to the band’s website.
Meisner died in Los Angeles due to complications from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease (COPD) at 77 years old, according to the band’s website.
“Randy was an integral part of the Eagles and instrumental in the early success of the band,” said the Eagles in a statement. “His vocal range was astonishing, as is evident on his signature ballad, ‘Take It to the Limit.'”
Meisner was born in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, on March 8, 1946. At ten years old, he became interested in guitar after seeing Elvis Presley perform on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
In the 1960s, Meisner moved to California, where he would eventually become a bassist and vocalist with Rick Nelson’s Stone Canyon Band before forming one of the biggest acts in the world. Following his time with Nelson, the musician served as the original bass player for the pioneering country-rock group Poco.
In the early 1970s, Meisner was at the forefront of California’s emerging folk rock and country rock movements when he joined the backup band for American female vocalist Linda Rondstadt.
Out of that experience, Meisner met Glenn Frey, Don Henley, and Bernie Leadon — all founding members of the Eagles. In 1971, the group formed the “California Rock” band that would go on to make five number-one singles and six number-one albums and win six Grammy Awards and five American Music Awards.
The Eagles became one of North America’s most successful musical acts of the 1970s.
“Meisner’s high harmony singing and bass (along with some guitar) were at the core of their sound, and his songwriting figured on all of their albums, starting with the haunting, impassioned ‘Take the Devil,’ and the soaring, high-energy rocker ‘Tryin,'” journalist and critic Bruce Eder reportedly said.
In addition to his natural, soulful voice, Meisner played bass for the group and contributed to several of the band’s catalog, including “Desperado,” “On The Border,” “One of These Nights,” and “Hotel California.”
While touring in 1977 to support “Hotel California,” the group’s fifth studio album and one of the best-selling records of all time, Meisner frequently became ill until he formally quit the band due to exhaustion in September of that year. The group would late replace him with Timothy B. Schmit, who also had taken over Meisner’s spot in Poco when he left to form the Eagles.
Over the next decade, Meisner would release three solo albums and joined the country rock supergroup Black Tie with Billy Swan and former Bread member Jimmy Griffin.
In 1998, Meisner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Eagles.
In recent years, Meisner reportedly suffered from many afflictions and personal tragedies. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had severe issues with alcohol.
The musician was first married to Jennifer Lee Barton from 1963 to 1981. The couple share three children. He later married Lana Rae in 1996 until she accidentally shot herself and died in 2016. Authorities determined Meisner was not involved in the shooting.
Meisner in 2016 spoke about his legacy with the Eagles and how their music won the hearts of audiences and critics during an interview with Rock Cellar Magazine.
“It’s just good to know that kids nowadays are listening to it,” he said. “It’s long-standing music. They’re good songs.”
“The lyrics are really good, and the way that they were produced and the way that we played them. That’s why on Hotel California we were so precise and wanting to make it so perfect,” he added. “We made sure we got it so good.”
Meisner’s death comes just weeks after People reported the surviving Eagles members announced plans to tour one last time on the “Long Goodbye” tour that is scheduled to launch on September 7, 2023.