Randy Meisner has died. The bassist and founding member of the Eagles is best remembered for his high harmonies on early Eagles hits like “Take It Easy” and “The Best of My Love,” and for his original lead vocals on “Take It to the Limit.”
The band shared the news on social media, calling him an integral part of the Eagles.
“His vocal range was astonishing,” they say, “as is evident on his signature ballad, ‘Take It to the Limit.'”
Meisner’s cause of death was related to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). For years he’d battled numerous physical and mental health ailments, especially after his wife Lana Rae Meisner accidentally shot and killed herself in 2016.
Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon and Meisner formed the Eagles in the early 1970s and released five timeless albums before the bassist split in 1977. While mostly a backing vocalist, Meisner took lead on a Top 5 single from 1976, “Take It to the Limit” from the One of These Nights album.
The Associated Press notes his reluctance to showcase his “nasally tenor” during the Hotel California Tour that followed, leading to an argument with Frey backstage. Meisner would leave soon after, to be replaced by Timothy B. Schmidt, who also replaced him in his previous band, Poco. Don Felder had also joined the group by that time.
The Nebraska-born Meisner embarked on a solo career afterward and had modest success with songs like “Hearts on Fire.” He’d also play on Walsh’s solo records, as well as some by James Taylor and more. The Eagles reunited without him in 1994 — a slight he publicly lamented at the time. Several years later he joined the band for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but when the group would reunite again for a 2013 tour, he’d have to decline for health reasons.
Meisner died on Wednesday night (July 26) in Los Angeles. Funeral arrangements are pending. He leaves behind three children.
R.I.P: Remembering Country Stars Who Died in 2023
Take a moment to remember the country artists, songwriters and other industry members we’ve lost in 2023.