Randy Meisner, Founding Eagles Bassist, Dies at 77

    Randy Meisner, the founding bassist of the Eagles and the vocalist on their 1976 hit ‘Take It to the Limit’, has died. The Eagles confirmed the news in a post on their website, noting that Meisner had died Wednesday night due to complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. “Randy was an integral part of The Eagles and instrumental in the early success of the band,” the band wrote. “His vocal range was astonishing, as is evident on his signature ballad, ‘Take It to the Limit.’”

    Born in 1946 in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, Meisner started playing guitar after he saw Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show in the late ‘50s. From 1961 to 1965, he played in a local band called the Dynamics before moving to California with the band the Soul Survivors, which was later renamed the Poor. In 1968, Meisner joined Poco, a country rock outfit featuring former Buffalo Springfield members Richie Furay and Jim Messina. He recorded bass and backing vocals for the band’s first album, but quit the group shortly before its release. As a session player, Meisner appaeared on tracks by artists including James Taylor and Waylon Jennings.

    In 1971, Meisner was recruited by John Boylan to be in Linda Ronstadt’s backing band, which featured Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Bernie Leadon. With Ronstadt’s blessing, the four musicians formed the Eagles and signed a deal with David Geffen’s Asylum Records. Meisner released five albums with the group: their self-titled debut, Desperado, On the Border, One of These Nights, and Hotel California. In addition to ‘Take It to the Limit’, he wrote and sang lead on ‘Try and Love Again’, ‘Is it True?’, ‘Take the Devil’, and ‘Tryin”. Meisner left the Eagles in 1977. He was succeeded by Timothy B. Schmit, who also replaced him in Poco.

    Meisner went on to release three solo albums between 1978 and 1982. In 1985, he became part of the all-star band Black Tie featuring Bread’s Jimmy Griffin and Billy Swan. He expressed disappointment in not being invited to join the Eagles’ Hell Freezes Over reunion tour in 1994, but he performed with the band when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Meisner was invited to join the band’s History of the Eagles 2013 world tour, but declined due to health issues.

    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis is a writer, journalist, and music editor at Our Culture. His work has also appeared in Pitchfork, GIGsoup, and other publications. He currently lives in Athens, Greece.

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