Eagles Co-Founder Randy Meisner Dead at 77
“Randy was an integral part of the Eagles and instrumental in the early success of the band," the band said in an official statement announcing Meisner's death. "His vocal range was astonishing, as is evident on his signature ballad, 'Take It to the Limit.'"
The success of that song wound up contributing to Meisner's departure from the Eagles. "I was always kind of shy," he told Rolling Stone in 2013. "They wanted me to stand in the middle of the stage to sing 'Take It to the Limit,' but I liked to be out of the spotlight."
An ailing Meisner subsequently refused to perform the song for the group's encore at a June 1977 show in Knoxville, Tenn., reportedly prompting Frey to call him a "pussy." Meisner then apparently attempted to punch his bandmate in return.
"When the tour ended, I left the band," Meisner told Rolling Stone in 2015. "Those last days on the road were the worst. Nobody was talking to me or would hang out after shows or do anything. I was made an outcast of the band I'd helped start."
Listen to Eagles Perform 'Take It to the Limit' Live
Born on March 8, 1946, in Scotts Bluff, Neb., Meisner rose to initial fame backing up Linda Ronstadt alongside Frey and Henley. Leadon came over from the Flying Burrito Brothers as the Eagles broke away to form their own group. Meisner launched a solo career after his exit, cracking the Top 30 in the early '80s with the singles "Deep Inside My Heart," "Hearts on Fire" and "Never Been in Love."
The Eagles only released one more album – 1979's The Long Run – with Meisner's replacement Timothy B. Schmit before initially breaking up. Meisner wasn't invited to participate when the band reunited in 1994.
Nearly 20 years later, a health scare got in the way of Meisner's potential return to the Eagles. The group invited Leadon back for a guest turn on the History of the Eagles tour, which featured a chronological set list. "Randy Meisner, if he were healthy and willing, might have been included,” Henley told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2013, “but his current health will not permit. We are all wishing him well.”
Meisner was married twice, first to Jennifer Lee Barton (1963-1981) then to Lana Rae from 1996 until her death. She accidentally killed herself in March 2016 in the couple's California home after an argument.
Meisner was cleared in his wife's death, which reportedly was the result of her moving a rifle bag inside a closet while searching for shoes. The weapon was accidentally fired, shooting her in the face. Meisner was so distraught, however, that TMZ reported he was temporarily placed on a psych hold.
The Eagles' statement reported that funeral arrangements were still pending.
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