Eagles Founding Member & Bassist Randy Meisner Passes Away, Aged 77

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Eagles Randy Meisner

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Photo Credit: Bob Osias

The Eagles report the passing of founding member, bassist, and vocalist Randy Meisner, aged 77, due to complications from COPD.

Randy Meisner, founding member, vocalist, and bassist for the Eagles, who played with the band in its original iteration until 1977, has passed away aged 77 due to complications stemming from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Along with Glenn Frey, Don Henley, and Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner formed the Eagles in 1971, contributing to the band’s albums Eagles, Desperado, On The Border, One of These Nights, and Hotel California. In 1998, he was inducted with the Eagles into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“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,’” writes the band in a statement on their website.

Meisner stayed with the Eagles through the 1976 release of Hotel California, the band’s most acclaimed album. But his shy nature and strained marriage made touring difficult, and Meisner suffered from illness and homesickness. When his reluctance to be in the spotlight for “Take It to the Limit” led to a backstage argument with Glenn Frey during a concert in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the summer of 1977, Meisner would leave the band soon after.

His replacement, Timothy B. Schmit, ironically succeeded him in his previous band, country-rock pioneering Poco, and was “the only candidate” the Eagles considered to replace him. Schmit would remain with the group for the following decades, along with Henley, Joe Walsh (who replaced Leadon in 1975), and Frey, who passed away in 2016.

“The purpose of the whole Eagles thing to me was that combination and the chemistry that made all the harmonies just sound perfect,” Meisner said during a 2015 interview. “After we made those albums, I never listened to them, and it’s only when someone comes over, or I’m at somebody’s house, and it gets played in the background that’s when I’ll tell myself, ‘Damn, these records are good.’”

Randy Meisner never approached the success of the Eagles during his time as a solo musician, but he enjoyed hits with “Deep Inside My Heart” and “Hearts On Fire” and recorded with artists like Joe Walsh, Dan Fogelberg, and James Taylor. For over a decade, he was part of a touring act known as World Classic Rockers, which featured artists including Donovan, Denny Laine, and Spencer Davis at various times.