Glenn Frey And Don Henley’s Effect On Randy Meisner’s Departure From The Eagles
Although many musicians would wait years to find their time to shine, not everyone wishes to be the band member who gets the most attention on stage. In fact, many rockers have candidly opened up about refraining from being the star of live performances, which may even cause feuds within the band.
While this doesn’t frequently happen since almost none of the band members force their fellow musicians to do something they aren’t comfortable with, this wasn’t the case with the Eagles. The pressure coming from Don Henley and Glenn Frey was so draining that it caused Randy Meisner to leave the band, and we’re here to break down the details.
Who Was Randy Meisner?
Randy Meisner formed the Eagles along with Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Bernie Leadon in September 1971, and the band released their eponymous debut album in the following year. In addition to playing the bass guitar, Meisner handled backing vocals for the band as well. On top of his duties as bassist and back vocalist, the musician contributed to the band’s songwriting by co-writing some of the songs and occasionally singing lead vocals on the band’s first five albums.
One of the most well-known examples of this was their first million-selling single entitled ‘Take It to the Limit.’ Besides the single, Meisner also wrote and sang lead vocals on several other songs, such as ‘Try and Love Again,’ ‘Is it True?,’ ‘Take the Devil,’ and ‘Tryin’.’ After a successful tenure with the band for six years, the musician quit the Eagles due to internal conflicts and the problems in his private life.
Why Did Randy Meisner Left The Eagles?
Randy Meisner’s time in the band was already worn down by his desire to be with his family since the musician had to spend pretty much his entire time with the Eagles. These conflicts and tensions peaked during the tour in support of their fifth studio album named ‘Hotel California.’
Meisner struggled with ill health and exhaustion due to the band’s constant touring that lasted more than eleven months. On top of his tiredness, the band members wanted the musician to do something completely opposite to his personality. Even though he preferred not to be the center of attention, he was forced to perform ‘Take It to the Limit’ on stage.
About performing the song, Meisner said:
“I was always kind of shy… 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. One night in Knoxville, I stayed up late and got the flu. We did two or three encores, and Glenn wanted another one.
I told them I couldn’t do it, and we got into a spat. That was the end… I really felt like I was a member of the group, not a part of it. The whole thing started to end when we started taking separate limos.”
While Meisner struggled to hit the crucial high notes because he had caught the flu, he decided to skip the song. As Meisner stated during the 2013 interview, he had an argument with fellow members Glenn Frey and Don Henley about singing ‘Take It to the Limit’ during the tour. The dispute over this song got physical backstage, making Meisner realize he wasn’t a part of the band anymore.
About the incident, Don Henley said:
“We were backstage, and the crowd was going wild. Our encore number was ‘Take It to the Limit.’ People loved that song, they went crazy when Randy hit those high notes, but Randy didn’t want to do the song that night. He’d been up, partying all night with a couple of girls and a bottle of vodka. Glenn kept trying to talk him into it, and Randy kept saying no. After about the third and fourth time that Randy refused, Glenn just backed up a couple of steps and said, ‘Well, f*ck you then!‘”
Glenn Frey continued:
“There were police officers standing backstage, and when they saw us about to go at it, they started to move in. Henley turned right to the cops and said, ‘Stay out of this! This is personal, and it’s private. Real f*cking private!'”
The musician decided to leave the band after the tour’s final date on September 3, 1977, which marked his last performance with the Eagles. He returned to Nebraska to be with his family while the band replaced Meisner with Timothy B. Schmit. The rocker officially quit the band in September 1977, citing the reason as exhaustion.
You can listen to the live version of ‘Take It to the Limit’ and see band members talking about the fight below.