Randy Meisner, Bassist, Vocalist and Founding Member of the Eagles, Dies at 77

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Randy Meisner, the bassist and founding member of the Eagles who sang lead vocal on the band’s first big hit, “Take It to the Limit,” has died. He was 77.

Meisner died Wednesday night in Los Angeles of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the Eagles announced on their website.

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“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,'” a statement read.

In May 1968, Meisner joined Poco with former Buffalo Springfield members Richie Furay and Jim Messina and worked on that group’s first album, 1969’s Pickin’ Up the Pieces, but he quit shortly before the record was released.

In September 1971, Meisner, Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Bernie Leadon formed the Eagles. They signed with David Geffen’s Asylum Records and released their eponymous debut album in 1972, followed by 1973’s Desperado, 1974’s On the Border, 1975’s One of These Nights and 1976’s Hotel California, their biggest success.

He did not get along with his bandmates and citing exhaustion exited the Eagles at an inopportune time, in the wake of Hotel California. He was eventually replaced by the same musician who had succeeded him in Poco, Timothy B. Schmit, who began on the Eagles’ The Long Run album, released in 1979.

“Meisner’s high harmony singing and bass (along with some guitar) were at the core of their sound, and his songwriting figured on all of their albums, starting with the haunting, impassioned ‘Take the Devil’ and the soaring, high-energy rocker ‘Tryin’,” Bruce Eder wrote on the AllMusic.com website.

He didn’t participate in the Eagles’ “Hell Freezes Over” reunion tour but was inducted with the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

A native of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, Meisner was the bassist and vocalist with Rick Nelson’s Stone Canyon Band before his days with Poco.

After the Eagles, he released solo albums, reunited with Poco and played on records with the likes of Joe Walsh, Dan Fogelberg, Richard Marx, Bob Welch and James Taylor.

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