From its origins to its continued legacy, the story behind Randy Meisner’s signature song.
This behind-the scenes look at the Eagles’ concert at Mile High Stadium on August 8th, 1976, includes interviews with Randy’s parents, his wife, as well as a rare glimpse of life backstage and on the road.
J.D. Souther opened.
Both Glenn Frey and the concert’s opening act, J.D. Souther, were born in Detroit. In 1964, Glenn’s aunt Virginia took him to see the Beatles at Olympia Stadium, when he was 15-years-old.
The Eagles perform “Seven Bridges Road” at Olympia Stadium.
Randy sang lead on “Midnight Flyer” and “Take It To The Limit.”
The Eagles appeared on the third episode of The Helen Reddy Show on July 12th, 1973. Also featured were Mac Davis, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and Cheech and Chong. The Eagles played two songs: “Witchy Woman” and “Tequila Sunrise.” This show marked their U.S. television debut. 1
On the heels of Reddy’s hit, “I Am Woman,” her friend Flip Wilson offered her his primetime NBC time slot while the Flip Wilson Show was on summer hiatus. The eight episodes were billed as Flip Wilson Presents The Helen Reddy Show.
Below are short clips of the Eagles’ performances of “Witchy Woman” and “Tequila Sunrise.”
(Sources: 2018 promo video for Eagles Legacy Box Set. History Of The Eagles documentary, 2013.)
Randy’s wife Jennifer, their 9-year-old son, Dana, and Jennifer’s 13-year-old niece, Bobbi, were present at the taping, which took place a month or two earlier at NBC Studios in Burbank. Below is an article from the Scottsbluff Star-Herald, Randy’s hometown paper, announcing The Helen Reddy Show appearance. Included with the article was a photo of Jennifer posing with a poster from the Eagles’ concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall in March 1973. Many thanks to Jennifer, as well as the Scottsbluff Public Library, for the complete article (Jennifer’s 50-year-old clipping had been cut off after the 3rd paragraph.) Unfortunately, the article is riddled with misspellings, the most glaring is Randy’s last name. Near the bottom, the paper quotes Jennifer as saying the Eagles had finished taping a show with the Ike and Tina Turner Revue. This would have been the 90-minute In Concert special on ABC, which aired August 3rd, 1973. Note: The Eagles’ appearance on The Helen Reddy Show was shown in most areas on July 12th, however, some cities aired the show later in the week, including Scottsbluff.
Since the Eagles were not touring in July 1973, Randy was home and able to watch the show with his family.
1Although the Reddy show marked the Eagles’ U.S. television debut, this was not Randy’s first stint before television audiences. His group, The Poor, appeared on episodes of Ironside and The Name Of The Game in 1968. He also made a number of TV appearances with Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band between 1969 and 1971. In March 1973, the Eagles made two European television appearances on Popgala ’73 and BBC’s In Concert.
An inside look at the Eagles’ appearance on DON KIRSHNER’S ROCK CONCERT in April 1974.
The Eagles opened for the Rolling Stones at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Joe Walsh joined them as their guest.
Joe Walsh made a surprise appearance with the Eagles for a version of his own “Rocky Mountain Way.”
Walking offstage after the show: Randy is behing Eagles’ manager, Irving Azoff (in glasses).
The Eagles played the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville on June 23rd, 1977.
The day before, the band played a game of softball against radio and record company personnel.
The Eagles onstage in Nashville. Andrew Gold opened.
Review from the Nashville Tennessean.
The day before the concert, the Eagles, aka “The Party Plane,” played a softball game against Elektra-Asylum personnel and local radio celebrities. Randy is in the background in the top right photo.
Playing for the opposing team was slide guitar aficionado, Mac Gayden. Below Gayden recalls (via Facebook) the softball game and mentions that he was initially considered as Bernie Leadon’s replacement before Walsh was added.
In 1976, when the Eagles were recording Hotel California at Criteria Studios in Miami, Gayden was in an adjacent studio at Criteria recording his album, Hymn To The Seeker. Gayden asked Randy to sing background on the song, “Someone Whispered.” It’s an overlooked gem in the Meisner canon of guest appearances. Check it out.
Footage of the Nashville softball game from the History Of The Eagles documentary.
©Alison Ellwood, Jigsaw Productions, 2013
The Eagles and Edgar Winter opened for Yes.
This show was originally slated for August 14th, but had to be rescheduled due to rain.
Photo ©Robert Corwin.
The Eagles appeared on ABC’s In Concert series on August 3rd, 1973. The 90-minute show also included Ike & Tina Turner and Jim Croce, among others.
The show was taped on June 20th, 1973 at UCLA’s Royce Hall.
Below: The Eagles were photographed during a soundcheck.
Randy is wearing an unusual knit shirt covered with faces that he purchased at L.B. Murphy’s, a department store in his hometown of Scottsbluff, NE.
Tickets to the taping were free to UCLA students. Several concert segments were filmed in one day.
The Eagles performed “Tequila Sunrise,” Early Bird,” and “Witchy Woman.” Randy wore another shirt with a Scottsbluff connection for the taping: a yellow Frank Implement Company shirt. Frank Implement was a John Deere dealership in Scottsbluff, which was owned by the father of a friend. Randy worked there for a brief time in 1970. His only real job.
In 1974, The Who’s drummer, Keith Moon, hosted an In Concert second anniversary special, which revisited performances from the past two seasons. Below is his introduction to the Eagles segment.
Below are the three songs the Eagles performed on In Concert in 1973. Apologies for the low quality.
“Early Bird” (co-written by Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner)
Andrew Gold opened both shows. Steve Miller made a guest appearance on the 19th.
“Randy Meisner, the bass guitarist, lifted the show to a new level of excitement with his singing of ‘Take It To The Limit.'”
Scott Cain, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 20th, 1977
“Bassist Randy Meisner gave an outstanding singing performance on ‘Take It To The Limit.'”
Bill King, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 21st, 1977
Eagles onstage, June 20th, 1977. Photo ©Kelly Campbell.
Review: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 21st, 1977
Randy at the Omni
Eagles opened for Procol Harum.
Most likely the location of the backstage photo of the band taken by Cameron Crowe’s friend, Gary Elam, which was originally published in San Diego Door in November 1972. Crowe mistakenly recalled in 2015 that the photo was taken at the San Diego Civic Theater. The Eagles did not play there in 1972.
The Eagles opened for Procol Harum.
Ad for the concert from the Los Angeles Free Press, June 30th, 1972.
Note the order of the band members’ names with Bernie and Randy mentioned first.
Eagles at Santa Monica Civic. Photo by Sam Emerson.
L.A. Times review by Robert Hilburn:
Linda Ronstadt and others visit the band backstage. Randy is not pictured. Photos by Sam Emerson.