Randy’s Masterpiece ~ ‘Take It To The Limit’

‘Take It To The Limit’, co-written by Randy, Glenn Frey and Don Henley, was from the Eagles’ fourth album ‘One of These Nights’. It was the third single from the album and was released on Nov. 15, 1975. It reached No. 4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and was the Eagles’ greatest success in the UK to that point. This was the Eagles’ first million-selling single. Billboard ranked it as the No. 25 song for 1976.


‘Take It To The Limit’ from the Eagles ‘One of These Nights’ album


‘Take It To The Limit; was one of 10 songs included on the ‘Eagles – Their Greatest Hits 1971-75’ album. Read about the album here.

On May 11, 2017, Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ album was certified 29 times platinum by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), a figure matched by the Eagles’ (USA) ‘Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)’. The two titles, therefore, shared the record for the best-selling album in the USA.

In 2018, The Eagles’ greatest hits album moonwalked past Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ to become history’s highest certified album of all time. The Recording Industry Association of America told The Associated Press that the Eagles’ album – ‘Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975’ – is now certified 38 times platinum, which means sales and streams of the album have reached 38 million copies.

Sources: Discogs, Billboard, Guinness World Records



Billboard Hot 100 for the Week Ending March 20, 1976

Close-up of the Billboard Hot 100 with ‘Take It To The Limit’ at the No. 4 position



Randy’s explanation for the concept of his song, ‘Take It To The Limit’ ~ Source: Snippet from ‘History of the Eagles’ ~ Produced by Alex Gibney ~ Directed by Alison Ellwood ~ Jigsaw Productions, 2013~ Released Jan. 19, 2013 (Sundance)
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‘Take It To The Limit’ Lyrics
Source: Songfacts


The exhibition at the now closed Greta Peck Gallery in Santa Rosa, CA on Aug. 26, 1995, included Randy’s original lyrics to ‘Take It To The Limit’ handwritten, numbered, and signed. Source:  The Press Democrat ~ Santa Rosa, CA ~ Aug. 13, 1995


After Randy steps away from the mic, the audience applauds until the next song begins. The Summit ~ Houston, Texas ~ Nov. 6, 1976 ~ Source: YOUKU
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‘Take It To The Limit’ (Eagles ~ ‘One of These Nights’ ~ 1975)
Any hopes Meisner had of staying safely in the shadows ended with the No. 1 track on our list of the Top 10 Randy Meisner Songs. ‘Take It To the Limit’ rose to No. 4, the Eagles’ highest-charting position at the time, putting additional pressure on him to hit the song’s emotional high note onstage night after night. Panic apparently began to creep in, and Meisner reportedly asked that the song – despite its massive popularity – be removed from the band’s sets. When the rest of the Eagles refused, Meisner quit. The vocal was later taken over by Glenn Frey.

Best Randy Meisner Song ~ Source: Classic Rock & Culture ~ Top 10 Randy Meisner Songs by Nick Deriso ~ March 7, 2016


Randy hitting the high notes at:
The Summit ~ Houston, Texas ~ Nov. 6, 1976
The Kingdome ~ Seattle, Washington ~ Aug. 6, 1976
The Capital Centre ~ Largo, Maryland ~ Mar. 21, 1977
Don Felder directs the spotlight on Randy
Source: YouTube

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Marc Shapiro:
If anybody benefited from the leisurely pace of ‘One of These Nights’ it was Randy Meisner whose voice became the centerpiece of some of The Eagles’ most recognizable songs, most notably his stunning falsetto at the climax to his own ‘Take It To The Limit’.

Marc Shapiro included a quote made in the late Seventies by Glenn Frey:
“On ‘One of These Nights’ Randy found himself as a vocalist. With songs like ‘Take It To The Limit’ and ‘Too Many Hands’ we felt we finally found the right songs for Randy to sing.”

Randy Meisner:
“I didn’t get to shine too often with the Eagles but ‘One Of These Nights’ turned out to be a big album for me. I felt I really shone on the song ‘One of These Nights’ and I was beaming on ‘Take It To The Limit’.”

Bill Szymczyk:
“Recording Randy’s voice on that song (‘Take It To The Limit’) took a bit of time but I still consider it a showstopper song for the band. He’s got a great voice and it was perfectly suited for that song.”

Marc Shapiro:
‘Take It To The Limit’ would peak the charts at No. 4 early in 1976.

Source: ‘The Story of the Eagles The Long Run’ by Marc Shapiro, Copyright 1995


To see the story of ‘One of These Nights’ ~ The Album
(Click on the record)


Joe Walsh on how great Randy was, and Randy on what makes him happy. ~ Source: Snippet from ‘History of the Eagles’ ~ Produced by Alex Gibney ~ Directed by Alison Ellwood ~ Jigsaw Productions, 2013 ~ Released Jan. 19, 2013 (Sundance)
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Source: ‘Take It To The Limit’: The Story Behind The Eagles’ Consequential Hit’ ~ Published online in Wide Open Country ~ by Grace Lenehan Vaughn, April 2021


The quiet and unassuming original bassist for The Eagles Randy Meisner, played a great role in creating that potency of the band. Meisner, the antithesis of a self-promoter, may simply have had one of the most underrated and falsetto voices in rock history. It is a shame that he simply is not recognized historically, not just for his bass playing prowess but also for his mastering of perhaps the most difficult instrument in music…the human voice.

Furthermore, most fans would not hesitate to agree that music, being an art, has only reached a form of a rock and roll nirvana – bordering on perfection but for a handful of times. This feat was unknowingly accomplished by Meisner, while performing in Maryland nearly four decades ago. Shortly after the masterful performance, Meisner either quit the band or was fired by the diarchy, which governed the group with a steel grip.

The song represented a juggernaut of failure waiting to happen. This foe, seemingly insurmountable, created deep mental pain. In order to combat this pain, Meisner often relied on marijuana to calm his brittle nerves, allowing him to trudge through the ballad. His only sense of relief, was when he had finished and the final note was struck.

Sadly, with the task completed, Meisner continued to question his own amazing abilities. To his great credit, and despite feeling the demons within himself raising havoc on his confidence level, he overcame the paralysis of doubt. Ridding his shackles, he was to eventually persevere; finding it possible to display his art and thus succeed in creating nothing short of perfection; at its core.

That balmy nite, the artist not only sang the hit but did so in such a manner that it mesmerized the packed audience in Maryland. His ability to do so, in the end, merely punctuated the theory that… musical perfection is a rarity, yet can indeed be achieved. This time ironically, by a musician who felt anything but ..well….perfect.

(The excerpts from this article are regarding Randy’s performance of ‘Take It To The Limit’ at The Capital Centre in Largo, Maryland on Mar. 21, 1977) ~ Source: Excerpts from ‘The Eagles – Randy Meisner’s brush with perfection’ by Kurt Niziak, Feb. 11, 2016


1988 KZOK Radio Interview Randy discusses ‘Take It To The Limit’ at 3:30 to 4:09
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One of the more predictable high spots of the album was ‘Take It To The Limit’, a track on which bass player Randy Meisner takes the lead vocal. Before Meisner left the group, his remarkable on-stage performances of the song were more often than not showstoppers, as the rest of the Eagles have freely admitted. “Recording Randy’s voice when we recorded that song took a bit of time, but his voice was perfectly suited to that. Around that time, I was really influencing the Eagles insofar as my greatest love in music has been black music and rhythm and blues, and I had been turning those guys on to all these various records, especially the Philadelphia International label records. The tune of ‘Take It To The Limit’ is based on ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’ by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes – I told them to listen to that record, because it was really good. So, Randy started to write a real laid back three-chorded thing, and we put the strings on it. I like that record too, even though it took a little time for Randy to do it. He’s got a great voice.”

Bill Szymczyk on recording ‘Take It To The Limit’ ~ Source: ‘The Record Producers’ ~ Rock’s Backpages, by John Tobler, 1982


Note Bill Szymczyk’s reference in the article above this video that ‘Take It To The Limit’ was based on ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’ by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.
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Randy describes how hitting the high note made him nervous. ~ Source: Snippet from ‘History of the Eagles’ ~ Produced by Alex Gibney ~ Directed by Alison Ellwood ~ Jigsaw Productions, 2013 ~ Released Jan. 19, 2013 (Sundance)
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British guitarist, Fil from Wings of Pegasus, analyzes Randy’s vocal registers.

This is the video that Fil uses for his analysis. It is the Roberts Meisner Band performing on the ‘Nashville Now’ TV program on Nov. 9, 1988. Source: YouTube (Click arrow to play video)


Below are snippets of both videos to zero in on for an analysis.

Fil analyzes the vocal phrase ‘Take It” ~ Source: YouTube (Click arrow to play video)

‘Take It’ section of Randy’s performance ~ Source: YouTube (Click arrow to play video)


Fil discusses Randy flipping his voice from chest voice to head voice on the word ‘freedom’ ~ Source: YouTube (Click arrow to play video)

‘Freedom’ section of Randy’s performance ~ Source: YouTube (Click arrow to play video)


Fil explains how Randy achieves the ending of the song. ~ Source: YouTube (Click arrow to play video)

Ending of Randy’s performance ~ Source: YouTube (Click arrow to play video)


~ A Moment In Time ~

The Capital Centre ~ Largo, Maryland ~ March 21, 1977 ~ Source: Snippet from ‘History of the Eagles’ ~ Produced by Alex Gibney ~ Directed by Alison Ellwood ~ Jigsaw Productions, 2013 ~ Released Jan. 19, 2013 (Sundance)


8 comments

  1. I love this whole article. I agree with the article that he reached rock and roll nirvana with that song at the Capital Centre. Every time I hear the song, I just have to stop and listen.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it! It’s pretty amazing what Randy did with that song. After he left the Eagles, no one else could pull it off as he did.

      • He is perfection indeed, Esther. As I stated at the end of this post, it surely was ‘A Moment In Time”. It probably will never be matched.

    • You’re welcome, Esther! I especially enjoyed putting together Fil’s, from Wings of Pegasus, analysis of Randy’s vocal range. It made me realize how utterly awesome Randy’s voice really was.

  2. I google to find more detail about this song cause it’s my favourite Eagles song. And He is My fav as well . So I found your great website and it’s really full of informations and rare pictures I’ve never seen before. wowwww Really good works from you . Thank you so very much for you all . LOVE

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