Randy Meisner, an original member of the Eagles, has died at the age of 77.

Meisner was the band’s first bass player. He helped put the band together in 1971.
Randy Meisner, with long hair, is flanked by Joe Walsh, left, with guitar, and Don Henley, with beard and a button-down shirt and suspenders. All three are singing into their microphones.Randy Meisner, in the middle, with Joe Walsh, on the left, and Don Henley, both of the Eagles, in 1977. Credit… Michael Ochs/Getty Images for Archives

Randy Meisner died on Wednesday at a hospital in Los Angeles. He was a founding member of the Eagles, and his wide vocal range on songs like “Take It to the Limit” helped make the rock band famous worldwide. 77 years old.

The band said on Thursday’s website that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease complications caused his death.

“Randy was an important part of the Eagles and played a big role in the band’s early success,” the band said.

Meisner was the band’s first bass player. In 1971, he, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, and Bernie Leadon helped form the Eagles. Meisner was in the band when they made the albums “Eagles,” “Desperado,” “On the Border,” “One of These Nights,” and “Hotel California.”

With its mysterious, allegory-filled lyrics, “Hotel California” became one of the band’s most well-known songs. In 1977, it was number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and in 1978, it won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

But Meisner didn’t like being well-known.

In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2013, he said, “I was always kind of shy.” He said his bandmates wanted him to stand in the middle of the stage to sing “Take It to the Limit,” but he preferred to be “out of the spotlight.” Then, he said, he got sick one night in Knoxville. “We did two or three encores, and Glenn wanted another one,” Meisner said, referring to the singer-songwriter who died in 2016.

Meisner told the magazine, “I told them I couldn’t do it, and we got into a fight.” “That’s how it ended.”

Meisner left the band in September 1977, but in 1998, he and the Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. An essay by Parke Puterbaugh, published by the Hall of Fame for the event, called the band “wide-eyed innocents with a country-rock pedigree” who later “became purveyors of grandiose, dark-themed albums chronicling a world of excess and seduction that had begun seriously spinning out of control.”

The Hall of Fame says that in the 1970s, the Eagles sold more records than any other band. They also had four No. 1 albums and five No. 1 singles. It sold over 26 million copies of its “Greatest Hits 1971–1975” album alone.

Before joining the Eagles, Meisner played bass briefly with Poco, a country-rock band from Los Angeles that formed in 1968. Soon after, he left that band to join Rick Nelson’s Stone Canyon Band.

Meisner’s survivors were not known right away on Thursday night. In 2016, an accident shot and killed his wife, Lana Meisner.

Randall Herman Meisner was born in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, on March 8, 1946. He began to play music when he was young.

A 2016 Rock Cellar Magazine interview says he got his first acoustic guitar when he was 12 or 13. Soon after, he started a high school band. Meisner said, “We did pretty well but didn’t win anything.”

Meisner told the magazine that he was still a teenager when he joined another band and moved to Los Angeles in 1964 or 1965.

“There were a million bands out here, so we couldn’t find any work,” he said.

Meisner would get a lot of work with the Eagles in the future.

In an interview with Rock Cellar, he said, “I knew from day one that the band was good and would make it.”

A full death notice will be out soon.

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