Randy Meisner, co-founder of The Eagles, died Wednesday in Los Angeles from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease complications. The rock legend was 77.
“Randy was an integral part of the Eagles and instrumental in the early success of the band,” the Eagles’ statement to Billboard said. “His vocal range was astonishing, as is evident on his signature ballad, ‘Take It to the Limit.’”
He started playing Hollywood nightclubs in the 1960s with the country rock band Poco, made up of former members of Buffalo Springfield. The bassist later left to play in the band of former teen star Rick Nelson. In 1971, he teamed up with Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Bernie Leadon to form The Eagles.
David Geffen quickly signed the group to his new Asylum Records label, and they released their first album the following year.
Their biggest hit came in 1976, with the release of the band’s fifth studio album, Hotel California. However, internal strife broke the seemingly laid-back group apart not long after its taste of success. Meisner refused to participate in later reunion tours but joined the group for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Few songs have echoed around Los Angeles like Hotel California, which still haunts the city’s dive bar jukeboxes to this day. From an inescapable tune that’s enjoyed decades of heavy rotation on KRTH and topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, to the band’s billboards on the Sunset Strip.
The iconic album sometimes stands in for the unreality of this place, juxtaposing the sheen of the Beverly Hills Hotel on the cover with the spooky lobby of the decrepit Hollywood Lido inside.