Eagles bassist and co-founder Randy Meisner has died aged 77

28 July 2023, 11:24

The Eagles co-founder and former bassist Randy Meisner has died.
The Eagles co-founder and former bassist Randy Meisner has died. Picture: Getty

By Thomas Curtis-Horsfall

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Randy Meisner has passed away at the age of 77.

The Eagles co-founder and bassist has sadly died due to complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

He originally played in a band called Poco, but went on to start Eagles with Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Bernie Leadon in 1971.

Meisner was a crucial component to the band establishing themselves as country rock greats, notably writing and taking the lead vocal on their 1975 classic 'Take It To The Limit'.

In an official statement commenting on their former bassist's passing, the band said: "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.'"

Eagles – Take It To The Limit – (One Of These Nights – 1975) - Randy Meisner (RIP) - Soft Rock

Born on 8th March in 1946, Meisner rose to prominence as a member of Linda Ronstadt's backing band alongside future Eagles members Frey and Henley.

Once Leadon broke away from the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Eagles formed their own group and became one of the decade's most iconic acts.

Randy Meisner left the Eagles in 1977 to pursue a solo career, reaching the Top 30 on the US Billboards with his singles 'Deep Inside My Heart', 'Hearts on Fire' and 'Never Been in Love.'

Though, it was the success of 'Take It To The Limit' and Meisner's superb falsetto vocal performance that forced him to quit the Eagles.

The Eagles in 1977. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
The Eagles in 1977. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images). Picture: Getty
Randy Meisner quit the Eagles in 1977. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
Randy Meisner quit the Eagles in 1977. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images). Picture: Getty

In 2013, the bassist told Rolling Stone magazine: "I was always kind of shy. They wanted me to stand in the middle of the stage to sing 'Take It to the Limit', but I liked to be out of the spotlight."

He frequently refused to sing the song, notably during an encore at a concert in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1977 when Frey called him a "pussy", which started a punch-up between the two bandmates.

"When the tour ended, I left the band. Those last days on the road were the worst. Nobody was talking to me or would hang out after shows or do anything. I was made an outcast of the band I'd helped start."

The Eagles only released one more album after Meisner's departure (1979's The Long Run) before breaking up themselves.

When they eventually reunited in 1994, Randy wasn't part of their plans. Twenty years after they did invite him to perform with the band again, though his health issues put the brakes on a full reunion.

"Randy Meisner, if he were healthy and willing, might have been included, but his current health will not permit. We are all wishing him well," Don Henley told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2013.