Randy Meisner Dies

Make him into someone who can take the place of me,
Make him every kind of fool you wanted me to be

Randy Meisner was an American musician and songwriter best known as a founding member of the iconic rock band, the Eagles. He was born on March 8, 1946, in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, USA. He developed an interest in music at a young age and learned to play the guitar and bass.

All four of his grandparents were Volga[1] German immigrants. Randy had an older sister, Carol, who died in 2005. He recalled that his mother was always singing around the house. His maternal grandfather, George Haun, was a violin teacher. The Meisner family grew corn, beans, alfalfa, and sugar beets on their farm. Young Randy developed an interest in the guitar at ten years old, after seeing Elvis Presley perform on the Ed Sullivan Show.

In the mid-1960s, he joined a band called The Dynamics, which later evolved into The Drivin’ Dynamics, a successful rock and roll group that gained popularity in the local music scene. In 1968, Meisner moved to Los Angeles to pursue a music career and became a part of the band Poco, which was one of the pioneering groups in the country rock genre.

Meisner backed Ricky Nelson, played on Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James” album, and befriended Henley and Frey when all were performing in Linda Ronstadt’s band. With Ronstadt’s blessing, they formed the Eagles, were signed up by David Geffen for his Asylum Records label, and released their self-titled debut album in 1972.

Frey and Henley sang lead most of the time, but Meisner was the key behind “Take It the Limit.” It appeared on the “One of These Nights” album from 1975 and became a top 5 single, a weary, plaintive song later covered by Etta James and as a duet by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. In 1971, Randy Meisner was recruited by Glenn Frey and Don Henley to be a founding member of a new band, the Eagles. Meisner was primarily a bassist but also contributed vocals to the group.

His distinctive high harmonies and smooth voice were essential to the band’s sound and played a significant role in their early success. Meisner’s most notable contributions to the Eagles include his vocal performance on the hit songs “Take It Easy,” “Take It to the Limit,” and “Try and Love Again.” He also sang lead on “Certain Kind of Fool”, “Saturday Night”, “Is It True?”, “Take the Devil”,

“Midnight Flyer” (one of my favorite Eagles songs), “Most of Us Are Sad”, “Too Many Hands”, “Tryin'”, and “On the Border”. Despite the band’s immense success, internal tensions and creative differences began to arise during the 1970s. Meisner struggled with the band’s rigorous touring schedule and felt uncomfortable with the increasing rockstar lifestyle.

In 1977, after the release of the Eagles’ album “Hotel California,” Randy Meisner decided to leave the band. He cited personal reasons and the desire to spend more time with his family as the primary reasons for his departure. Following his departure from the Eagles, Meisner pursued a solo career. He released a self-titled album in 1978, which achieved moderate success.

From 1987 to 1989, Meisner formed a band and toured with former Firefall singer-songwriter Rick Roberts, called the Roberts-Meisner Band (Roberts had previously been a Burrito Brother with Bernie Leadon, notably on 1971’s The Flying Burrito Brothers). The Roberts-Meisner Band’s drummer was well-known musician Ron Grinel, who also played with Dan Fogelberg, Carole King, and the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band. Also in the band was Bray Ghiglia on guitar, flute, saxophone, and keyboards, and Cary Park on lead guitar. Roberts reports that the band recorded “at least half a dozen” songs, but that record company interest was not as great as they had expected.

In subsequent years, Meisner worked on various projects and collaborations with other musicians. However, he did not achieve the same level of commercial success as he did with the Eagles. Randy Meisner largely retreated from the public eye after his solo career and lived a relatively private life. It is important to note that Randy Meisner has faced some personal challenges and tragedies in his life.

Meisner married twice. He married his high-school girlfriend, Jennifer Lee Barton, in 1963, and the young couple had a son, Dana Scott Meisner in November 1963. The couple had two more children, twins Heather Leigh and Eric Shane Meisner, born in May 1970, before divorcing in 1981. Meisner later married his girlfriend of twelve years, Lana Rae, in November 1996. The marriage lasted until her death in 2016.

The funny thing is after we made those albums I never listened to them and it is only when someone comes over, or I am at somebody’s house and it gets played in the background, that is when I’ll tell myself, ‘Damn, these records are good.’

Randy Meisner

He dealt with alcoholism and struggled with the loss of his wife, Lana Rae Meisner, who died in a tragic accident in 2016. Following minor heart attacks in 2004, he was forced to cut back on touring.

Solo Work

  • Randy Meisner (1978)
  • One More Song (1980)
  • Randy Meisner (1982)
  • Live in Dallas (1983)
  • Meisner, Swan & Rich (as Meisner, Swan & Rich) (2001)
  • Love Me or Leave Me Alone (2005) – Compilation
  • “Deep Inside My Heart” (duet with Kim Carnes) (1980)
  • “Hearts on Fire” (1981)
  • “Never Been in Love” (1982)
  • “I’m Sure of You” (as Meisner, Swan & Rich) (1992)

As his health continued to deteriorate, he eventually stopped performing. Meisner died due to complications associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)[2] in Los Angeles, on July 26, 2023, at the age of 77.

  1. The Volga Germans were ethnic Germans who migrated to the Volga Region of Russia during the 18th century. They were invited by the Russian Empire to settle and develop the region. However, they faced significant challenges and hardships, including political and social issues, and many of them eventually emigrated to other countries, particularly the United States, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. [Back]
  2. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive and debilitating respiratory condition characterized by the obstruction of airflow in the lungs, primarily caused by long-term exposure to harmful inhaled substances, such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, and occupational dust. The disease encompasses two main conditions: chronic bronchitis, which involves persistent inflammation of the bronchial tubes, and emphysema, which leads to the destruction of the air sacs in the lungs. Symptoms of COPD include persistent cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, and frequent respiratory infections. COPD is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, and while it is not fully curable, early diagnosis, lifestyle changes, and appropriate medical management can significantly improve the quality of life and slow disease progression. [Back]

Further Reading


Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: