Eagles bassist Randy Meisner dies aged 77

Randy Meisner (centre) was one of the founding members of the Eagles, formed in the early 1970s.

Randy Meisner (centre) was one of the founding members of the Eagles, formed in the early 1970s. Photo: AAP

Randy Meisner, a founding member of the Eagles who added high harmonies to favourites such as Take It Easy and The Best of My Love and stepped out front for the ballad Take It to the Limit, has died.

Meisner died on Wednesday night in Los Angeles (local time) of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the Eagles said in a statement. He was 77.

The bassist had endured numerous afflictions in recent years and personal tragedy in 2016 when his wife, Lana Rae Meisner, accidentally shot herself and died.

Meanwhile, Randy Meisner had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had severe issues with alcohol, according to court records and comments made during a 2015 hearing in which a judge ordered Meisner to receive constant medical care.

Called “the sweetest man in the music business” by former bandmate Don Felder, the baby-faced Meisner joined Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Bernie Leadon in the early 1970s to form a quintessential Los Angeles band and one of the most popular acts in history.

“Randy was an integral part of the Eagles and instrumental in the early success of the band,” the Eagles’ statement said.

“His vocal range was astonishing, as is evident on his signature ballad, ‘Take It to the Limit.'”

Evolving from country rock to hard rock, the Eagles turned out a run of hit singles and albums over the next decade, starting with Take It Easy and continuing with Desperado, Hotel California and Life In the Fast Lane among others.

Although chastised by many critics as slick and superficial, the Eagles released two of the most popular albums of all time, Hotel California and Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975), which with sales at 38 million, the Recording Industry Association of America ranked with Michael Jackson’s Thriller as the No.1 seller.

Meisner stayed on through the 1976 release of Hotel California, the band’s most acclaimed record, but was gone soon after. His departure, ironically, was touched off by the song he co-wrote and was best known for, Take It To The Limit.

As a solo artist, Meisner never approached the success of the Eagles, but did have hits with Hearts On Fire and Deep Inside My Heart and played on records by Walsh, James Taylor and Dan Fogelberg among others.


Topics: Music
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