In this second installment of my series, In His Own Words, Randy talks about how he came to write or co-write some of his most treasured songs with the Eagles.

Photo from One Of These Nights Songbook, 1976

“I never wrote for Poco. The Eagles convinced me to try and write. But still to this day writing is real hard for me. I need co-writers and I wasn’t fast enough, like Henley and Frey became.”
Desperados: The Roots Of Country Rock by John Einarson, 1991

Dutch 45 for “Tryin’,” written by Randy Meisner
(A-side: “Chug All Night”)
From Eagles (1972)

“[The Eagles are] capable of anything because we all use the band to express ourselves. If I write a song the other guys are gonna influence it in their own little way. It’s a job keeping us together, happy and compromising. But the idea of the band is that everyone can get to do what they want some of the time.” Sounds, March 27, 1976

There’s no real theory behind it. You experience a lot of pain to write a lot of songs. It’s sad, but that’s the way a musician’s life is.”
  Alliance Times-Herald, July 6th, 1983

“Relating to the new sounds is confusing. I wasn’t used to the idea of punk rock, but I started listening to some and got used to it. But I figured out that all songs turn out the same. A good song is a good song, and you can do it lots of different ways. I think I’ll stick to my guns and write songs the way I always have.”
Omaha World-Herald, October 14, 1984

Credit for “Is It True?” from On The Border LP (1974)

“Don had the musical track for “Hotel California.” Don asked me if I wanted to write the lyrics and I kind of started on it but it takes me a long time to get something going because I was writing on my own. I didn’t study English literature so it was harder for me to find words that would go together lyrically. I had a hard time with that. Musically, I could always get an idea or hook line that was good. Later, Henley got a hold of it–and wow! There you go! (laughs). Man, what a great job he did.”
Ken Sharp Interview, 2006

“You know, I almost started [“Desperado”]. I remember I was playing the acoustic guitar in the dressing room one night and I was playing the chord…dum, de-dum..which was probably normal, a lot of guys probably played it. But, I remember Henley saying to me, ‘You know, if you don’t do something with that, I’m going to.’ And he did, you know. It was great that he did something with it because I probably wouldn’t have.”
Redbeard interview, 1988

“Certain Kind Of Fool” (1973)

“I kinda started it, and that’s what usually happened. I’d get a verse or two, and I’m done, and they would  help fill in the blanks.”
History Of The Eagles documentary, 2013

“’Certain Kind of Fool’ was just a lick that I had on the guitar. We got to London [to record Desperado] and all of a sudden it was ‘What’s Randy gonna sing?’ And, so, I just had this lick and I remember we finished it in about one night, Don and Glenn, but the thing is, the reason they could finish it is because they had the pieces of all this story of the Desperado album and they knew what they wanted to inject.”
Redbeard interview, 1988

“Saturday Night” (1973)

Dutch single for “Saturday Night,” co-written by Randy Meisner
(A-side “Take It Easy”)

“I was sitting there one night, and I came up with the line ‘What ever happened to Saturday night?’ When I was younger, I would be out partying, and with girls and having fun. And that’s what it was about: Whatever happened to it? And the answer was, ‘You’re older now.’ ”
“40 Greatest Eagles Songs,” Rolling Stone, September 19, 2019

“Too Many Hands” (1975)

“One song I wrote…well, I wrote the lyrics, is called “Too Many Hands.” It’s one that I’m glad I was involved with and able to write because it’s almost coming true now. It’s about destroying our Mother Earth and what I don’t like about destroying it. Maybe that will be a classic someday–when there’s nobody here to play it. (laughs)”
May 12, 1988, KZOK radio interview, Seattle, WA. 

“Take It To The Limit” (1975)

“The line ‘take it to the limit’ was to keep trying before you reach a point in your life where you feel you’ve done everything and seen everything, sort of feeling, you know, part of getting old. And just to take it to the limit one more time, like every day just keep, you know, punching away at it … That was the line, and from there the song took a different course.”
History Of The Eagles documentary, 2013

Handwritten lyrics to “Take It To The Limit”

“I was feeling kind of lonely and started singing ‘All alone at the end of the evening, and the bright lights have faded to blue,’ and it went from there.”
“40 Greatest Eagles Songs,” Rolling Stone, September 19, 2019

“’Take It To The Limit’ was a song where we were getting close to recording, and it wasn’t finished. Don and Glenn helped me with the lyrics. I started the song, but those guys helped me a lot. I came home from the Troubadour one night and got out my acoustic guitar and all of a sudden I had the first few lines.”
Canyon of Dreams by Harvey Kubernik, 2009

“Try And Love Again” (1976)

I wrote “Try And Love Again” for [Hotel California]. That was the last song I wrote for the band. Joe (Walsh) helped me a little bit with that. I had that song for a long time and never really got it finished. I brought it in for those album sessions, we worked on it and worked on it and it turned out really good. Don and Glenn helped put it together.
Ken Sharp Interview, 2006

Credit for “Try And Love Again” from Hotel California inner sleeve (1976)

“I sat around one evening and got a little high and started playing something and thought, ‘Is this OK?’ I brought it to rehearsal, and they said, ‘That’s pretty good.’” 
“40 Greatest Eagles Songs,” Rolling Stone, September 19, 2019

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  1. Love reading this, fills in the missing years and love that he shares that he is grateful for their help.

  2. story of my life…. starting something and not being able to complete it. It was nice that Randy had friends to help him along, and I’m sure he helped them too, when they got stuck. Helping each other get through brick walls is important. I think it would have been ok if Randy didn’t want to sing take it to the limit at times on stage, and the band could have explained it in the media, would that have ruined the band? Tim Schmidt took over. Didn’t hurt the band at all.

  3. Thanks for your comment.

    Personally, I don’t think the band would have needed to explain anything in the media if Randy chose not to sing “Take It To The Limit” occasionally. It’s not unusual for a band to change their setlist from night to night. If fans don’t hear all the songs they want to hear at a concert, that’s just the way it goes. Not sure that I agree that Timothy B Schmit joining didn’t hurt the band at all. The band broke up after The Long Run and didn’t get back together for 14 years.

  4. Even in the segment with Joe Walsh, which is only 2 years ago or so, he told Randy that he still owns the song “Take It to the Limit” to this day, because they haven’t been able to play it in that key ever since. That’s a high compliment. I’m blind, so I would have loved to know his reaction to that comment after all this time. I love his humility in these quotes, giving credit when a lot of people wouldn’t have done so. I mean, how many of us could probably cite a time when someone stole credit from us. Thanks again for this wonderful site.

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