Randy Meisner, the original bassist of the Eagles and a founding member of the band, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 77. Meisner was known for his celestial tenor voice, which fueled hits like “Take It to the Limit” and helped the Eagles rise to the top of the 1970s rock scene. He died at a hospital in Los Angeles due to complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to a statement on the band’s website.
Randy Meisner’s voice was often praised for its beauty and range. In a recent interview with The Los Angeles Times, singer Vince Gill, who joined the Eagles in 2017, expressed his admiration for Meisner’s vocals on “Take It to the Limit” and admitted that he would rather hear Meisner sing the song himself.
In a band filled with strong personalities and egos, Randy Meisner was known for his introverted nature and his preference for the band’s early days when the members were like brothers. He grew up on a farm in Nebraska and found himself at the heart of the country-rock scene in Los Angeles in the late 1960s as a member of the band Poco and Rick Nelson & the Stone Canyon Band.
The Eagles quickly rose to success, achieving five Billboard No. 1 singles and six No. 1 albums. Their album “The Eagles: Their Greatest Hits” became the best-selling album of all time in 2018, surpassing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Randy Meisner played an integral role in the band’s early success, handling lead vocals on three songs on their first album, including “Take the Devil,” which he co-wrote with Bernie Leadon.
However, as the band’s fame grew, Randy Meisner found himself increasingly sidelined as other members took on more songwriting and vocal duties. The excesses of stardom took a toll on the band, with drugs and alcohol becoming a regular part of their lifestyle. The album “Hotel California” was a chronicle of this excess, with songs like “Life in the Fast Lane” capturing the dark side of fame.
Despite his limited contributions to “Hotel California,” Meisner continued to release solo albums after leaving the Eagles. He had three singles that reached the Billboard Top 40. However, he expressed regrets about his departure from the band and the mudslinging among members that followed. In a 2000 interview, he reflected on the past and said, “When you get older, it’s like, why even think about it anymore? Enough is enough.”
Meisner is survived by his wife, Lana Meisner. She tragically passed away in 2016 due to an accidental shooting. Details of other survivors were not immediately available.
Randy Meisner will be remembered as a talented musician whose beautiful voice helped define the sound of the Eagles. His contributions to the band’s early success will not be forgotten, and his legacy will live on through their music.