Randy Meisner, a Founding Member of the Eagles, Passes Away at 77

The demise of Randy Meisner, a vital figure in the Eagles, at the age of 77, was officially announced by the band on Thursday.

In Los Angeles, on Wednesday night, Randy Meisner breathed his last due to complications arising from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as stated in the Eagles' press release.

Renowned as "the sweetest man in the music business" by former bandmate Don Felder, this bassist contributed his high harmonies to beloved tracks such as "Take It Easy" and "The Best of My Love," and took the lead in the waltz-time ballad "Take It to the Limit."

In 1973, Randy Meisner of the Eagles was photographed during an interview in London by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns - Getty Images.

Recent years had not been kind to Meisner, with numerous hardships and personal tragedy striking in 2016 when his wife, Lana Rae Meisner, tragically lost her life in an accidental shooting.

Forming an iconic Los Angeles band with Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Bernie Leadon in the early 1970s, Meisner played an instrumental role in establishing one of the most celebrated acts in musical history.

"The Eagles' statement paid tribute to Randy's integral role in the band's early success, highlighting his astounding vocal range, prominently showcased in his signature ballad, 'Take It to the Limit,'" the press release said.

Over the next decade, the Eagles transitioned from country rock to hard rock, blessing the world with a slew of hit singles and albums, including timeless classics like 

  • Take It Easy 
  • Desperado 
  • Hotel California (very well known)
  • Life in the Fast Lane and other

Although some critics dismissed their music as smooth and superficial, the Eagles undeniably released two of the most popular albums ever, namely "Hotel California" and "Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)."

Initially branded as "mellow" and "easy listening," the Eagles shed that image by their third album, "On the Border" (1974), embracing a more rock-oriented sound after the inclusion of rock guitarist Felder and moving away from their country and bluegrass roots.

Meisner remained part of the band until the release of "Hotel California" in 1976, the Eagles' most acclaimed record, after which he departed.

A reserved Nebraskan, caught between the allure of fame and the desire for a quiet family life, Meisner had experienced homesickness and illness during the Hotel California tour, preferring to avoid the spotlight. His successor, Timothy B Schmit, joined the group and remained with them for the following decades, alongside Henley, Joe Walsh, and Frey, who passed away in 2016.

Though never achieving the same level of success as the Eagles as a solo artist, Meisner did manage to score hits with songs like "Hearts on Fire" and "Deep Inside My Heart." Additionally, he lent his musical talents to albums by Walsh, James Taylor, and Dan Fogelberg, among others.

Throughout his life, Meisner was married twice, tying the knot for the first time while still a teenager, and fathered three children.

Born to sharecroppers, with a grandfather who excelled as a classical violinist, Meisner's musical journey began in his teenage years, playing in local bands. By the late 1960s, he had relocated to California and joined a country rock group called Poco, alongside Richie Furay and Jimmy Messina. However, he eventually left the band, expressing frustration when Furay denied him the opportunity to listen to the studio mix of their debut album. Timothy B. Schmit succeeded Randy Meisner.

In his career, Meisner collaborated with Ricky Nelson, contributed to Taylor's acclaimed album "Sweet Baby James," and formed bonds with Henley and Frey while performing in Linda Ronstadt's band. With Ronstadt's blessing, the trio came together to form the Eagles, signing with David Geffen's Asylum Records label and releasing their eponymous debut album in 1972.

While Frey and Henley took on most of the lead vocals, Meisner played a pivotal role in delivering the essence of "Take It to the Limit," a track featured in the 1975 album "One of These Nights," which ultimately became a top-five single. This heartfelt, melancholic song was later covered by artists such as Etta James and as a duet by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.

Reflecting on his time with the Eagles, Meisner shared with the music website www.lobstergottalent.com in 2015, "The purpose of the Eagles' journey, to me, was the magical combination and chemistry that made the harmonies sound just perfect. Funny enough, after we created those albums, I never really listened to them. It's only when someone comes over or I'm at somebody's house, and the music plays in the background that I tell myself, 'Wow, these records are really good.'"

Summarised from the original article by: TheGuardian.com

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