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Take It To The Limit by Eagles

Album: One Of These NightsReleased: 1975Charted:
4
12
  • This is a good example of the "Southern California Sound," a mix of country, folk, and rock that the Eagles became known for. It's also a good example of melancholy lyrics wrapped in a sweet melody - another attribute of early Eagles songs. In this one, the singer is left longing for a woman and trying to make sense of it.
  • Don Henley, Randy Meisner and Glenn Frey wrote this song. Meisner sang lead, making this one of only three US Top 40 Eagles songs not sung by Don Henley or Glenn Frey, the others being "I Can't Tell You Why" (sung by Timothy B. Schmit) and "In the City" (sung by Joe Walsh).

    Meisner, who is from rural Nebraska, was the most subdued member of the band, describing himself to Rolling Stone as "Shy and nervous about putting myself on the line." He was a founding member of the Eagles, but left in 1977 as tensions rose and the lifestyle became too much for him. Leaving the band was a good mental health decision. Don Felder, who joined in 1974, told us: "Really the only thing you can do when you're in the Eagles is eat, breathe, and sleep Eagles. I mean, you're either on the road, writing in the studio, or doing press - it's just all consuming."
  • Speaking about this song, Randy Meisner explained: "The line 'take it to the limit' was to keep trying. You reach a point in your life where you feel you've done everything and seen everything - it's part of getting old. And just to take it to the limit one more time, like every day just keep punching away at it. That was the line, and from there the song took a different course."
  • The high note at the end of this song was not easy for Randy Meisner to hit. He could pull it off in the studio, but not always in concert, since he would get nervous. At one point, he asked to take the song out of the set, which became a source of contention and a factor in him leaving the band.

    In the 2013 History of the Eagles documentary, Glenn Frey and Don Henley recall a show where "Take It To The Limit" was planned as the encore, but Meisner refused to do it. Frey says that he got in a fight with Meisner backstage, and that Henley made sure security at the venue stayed out of it so they could settle it. Meisner left the band soon after and was replaced by Timothy B. Schmit, who was in the band Poco.
  • Country music legends Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings do a country duet version of this song. It appears on the album Many Sides of Willie Nelson. (thanks, Julian - Oakland, AR)
  • Jim Ed Norman arranged and conducted the strings. He worked on all of the Eagles albums before their 1982 breakup, and also did strings for Linda Ronstadt, who once had future members of the Eagles in her backup band.
  • This was one of 10 songs included on Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975, which for a short time was certified as the best selling album of all time in America. Michael Jackson's Thriller eventually eclipsed it.
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Comments: 38

Randy Meisner is not the only lead singer on a hit song from the state of Nebraska. I can think of four right off... "In-a-gadda-da-vida" with Iron Butterfly's Doug Ingle of Omaha as lead singer and "She's a Beauty" with the Tubes Fee Waybill singing, also an Omaha native. 38 Specials lead singer on "Second Chance" is Max Carl, from Humphrey, Nebraska. And not least... "In the year 2525" by Zager and Evans, from Lincoln.Joe - Grand Island, Nebraska
On March 7th 1976, "Take It To The Limit" by the Eagles peaked at #4 (for 2 weeks) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it entered the chart on December 14th, 1975 at position #80 and spent 22 weeks on the Top 100...
It also reached #4 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
Was the fourth in a string of six straight records by the group to make the Top 10; started with "Best of My Love" (#1 for 1 week), "One of These Nights" (#1 for 1 week), "Lyin' Eyes" (#2 for 2 weeks), this one, "New Kid In Town" (#1 for 1 week), and finally "Hotel California" (#1 for 1 weeks)...
"Life in the Fast Lane" broke the string; but only by one position, it peaked at #11 (for 2 weeks)...
Randy Meisner will celebrate his 68th birthday tomorrow on March 8th (2014).
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
How is this not considered one of the greatest songs of all time? There are few songs that come close to this song's magnificence. This song will never get old.Jon - Columbus, Oh
Donna, I hadn't ever heard that about this song...but I came on here looking for some explanation of the lyrics and find none. It's just a big debate over the singers and their personal lives. I was a teenager in the 70s and yet the Eagles never really did much for me. There isn't a single song of theirs that I find ultra-amazing. I'm not even sure why they are so important to so many people. But that's just me. I don't hate their music, but I'm not crazy about it, either.Camille - Toronto, Oh
Someone told me that this song was about suicide. Is this fact or fiction?Donna - Delaware City, De
Not many bands nowadays can stay together as The Eagles have,write/sing great songs,and a band to have most of it's members singing,In fact i'am so sure The Eagles had another member not mention here,JD Souther was he an Eagle?Jorge - Bronx, Ny
I saw Randy Meisner sing this with the Eagles once on the "One of These Nights" Tour at Kemper Arena in Kansas Cith the night before Thanksgiving. He has an awesome voice and is part of the original Eagles quintisential sound. I saw their next Tour "Hotel California" at Arrowhead Stadium a few years later and he was replaced by Tim Schmidt. Meisners' "Try And Love Again" was never released as a single from hotel California because he left the band, which is also a great vocal performance.Steve - Trabuco Canyon, Ca
I wonder why Meisner has been called as subdued. He wasn't subdued, its just that Henley and Frey led the band since they were also the key writers and hence they decided the types of songs the band will write and sing. By the way, the fact about this being one of the only 3 top 40 songs from the Eagles which were not sung by Henley/ Frey could be wrong (the other 2 being I Can't Tell You Why and In The City) - since Love Will Keep Us Alive was also under top 40, it could have also been # 1.Mayank - Ranchi, India
Marie, like the other post indicates, Timothy B. Schmit sings lead on "I Can't Tell You Why". But regardless you are correct that it is an amazing vocal. And really, how can anyone not LOVE the Eagles?Joe - Frankfor, Ky
I used to listen to the eagles with my mom. This song has special meaning to me especially regarding the line " you can spend all your love making time" great lyrics...so true. Randy's voice in " I can't tell you why" simply awesome. Eagles still rock.Marie - Buffalo, Ny
When Rolling Stone did its top 100 albums, it specifically left off all of the artists from the California Sound genre, arguing that it was "anti-rock." Sounds like they grudgingly included some of these on the list of singles.Frank - Lexington, Ky
Meisner left because he couldn't take the rock and roll lifestyle anymore. The endless touring, marathon studio session, drugs and groupies. He wanted a home and family. There were no hard feelings between him and the rest of the band. He even rejoined the band for a special apperance in the early 1990's to promote the "Common Threads" album where country signers covered Eagles songs. Also I heard an interview with Glenn Frey who said they really debated on doing this song in their reunion tours, since it was really a Randy Meisner song. In the end, the felt their fans would be disappointed if they didn't at least give it a try. Frey said he volunteered to sing lead, since Don Henley was reluctant to do it.Ken - Louisville, Ky
This is Randy's song,no offense, but Frey can't hold a candle to Randy on this one..Great song..Jim - Long Beach, Ca
Randy left because things got hard dealing with success and the long tours, he simply got tired and wanted to spend more time with his family. Don and Glenn they didn{t want to stop touring and recording in spite of fame and money. Don Felder wrote this in his book "Heaven and Hell".Victor - Hermosillo Sonora, Mexico
This is one of my all-time fave songs. Hotel California is up there too, but this one is just the tops for me! I even loved it as a little kid and remember listening to it on the jukebox at a small cafe.Janetlee - Panama City, Fl
My father, who was in college around the time of this song, had a nerdy calculus teacher who would joke, "Alright guys, we're gonna do like the Eagles and 'take it to the limit one more time' ha ha..."Emily - Ocean Springs, Ms
My older brother loves Randy Meisner's voice. I hated this song when I was like 8 years old. I think it was because I didn't know what the lyrics meant and it kept repeating "take it to the limit". It probably annoyed the hell out of me. But I love the song now.Liz - Smallville, Ks
I simply can't somach Frey singing this.. its way too much Randy for me. If they are gonna ditch him for the reunion they should have left this one out. But Frey and Henley have too much hubris.Jeff - Chicago, Ga
I love this song. It says what I feel most of the time. Like so much is happening in life that you just have to say, okay, just take it the limit one more time, stretch me once more. The details change but the theme is the same.Diane - Orlando, Fl
I made it thru my teenage years thanks to the Eagles. Randy Meisner leaving was devastating. The Eagles were Great with him and only good without. I really miss that voice in the harmony and think Take It To The Limit was one of there Greatest songs.He is definetly Not Arrogant!! I really still enjoy his solo releases .
chris va
Chris - Rh, Va
the first concert i ever saw was at assmebly hall at the university of illinois. the warmup act was marshall tucker followed by the eagles. the year was 1973. take it to the limit was a great song. why meisner sang lead is beyond me. when the group has glenn frey and don henley to sing it makes no sense. most eagles songs were written by frey and/or henley. some were by jackson brown.Rick - Tuscola, United States
I love the flow of this song. The Eagles had a ton of big hits, but I think this was one of the more underrated ones.Ryan - Kansas City, Ks
Mike -- Hotel California was No. 49 on the list and Desperado was No. 494. But you're right, The Eagles were tremendously underrepresented on that list.Ryan - Kansas City, Ks
The Eagles Greatest Hit album is the # 1 selling album in U.S. History yet only one song from this album made it in the Rolling Stone's Top 500. What a crock ! Anyone please correct me if I missed a song on there but I don't believe I did. One way or another the Rolling Stone list is a worthless crock !Mike - Hueytown , Al
The statement that Randy Meiner is the only one from Nebraska to sing lead on a Top 40 hit is incorrect. Denny Zager & Rick Evans of Zager & Evans had a #1 hit in 1969 with "In The Year 2525".Don Ludden - Lincoln, Ne
omg, glenn frey said that on "farewell 1" dvd about this "credit-card" song!!!!! :)Sara Mackenzie - Middle Of Nowhere, Fl
Glenn Frey also calls this song "the credit card song", because of his wife in plaintiff! ;-)Jimmy - Vienna
1. Eagles Greatest Hits is indeed the biggest selling album in the history of the music business, surpassing Michael Jackson's "Thriller" about 7 years ago.
2. Take It to the Limit is indeed in "waltz" time, although it almost sounds like it's in 6/8 time.
3. Meisner was almost certainly the least arrogant member of the band. In fact, one major point of contention between him and the other guys was that he was uncomfortable singing it live, and constantly begged to not be forced to take the spotlight during the show. (It was their only hit in which he sang lead vocal.)
Garrett - Nashville, Tn
Man, that song does not quit. I like it though, it's got a very upbeat feel to me in spite of its lyrics for some reason. Must be the waltz-like ballad arrangement.Josh - Magnolia, Ar
um, Eagles: Their Greatest Hits is NOT the best selling album of all time. It was the best selling album of the 20th century in the U.S..Bsd987 - Long Island, Ny
eagles rock, end of storySara Mackenzie - Middle Of Nowhere, Fl
As I grew up listening to the albums by The Eagles I have to say that have inspired me. Take It To The Limit is one of my favourites. It's just a shame that they weren't as successful in my country.Paul - London, England
and i think thats hilarious colin from columbis about your teacher. pricelessMeagan - Baton Rouge, La
great song very goodMeagan - Baton Rouge, La
Calling Randy Meisner arrogant in the context of The Eagles is a bit of a stretch. He left simply because after a certain point, they couldn't stand each other. Randy left AFTER "Hotel California", which any listener would have to agree was the group's high-water mark. His solo career may have seen limited success, but consider that the group's output in the 25+ years since he left has been "The Long Run" and "Hell Freezes Over". He picked a good a time as any to head out on his own.Mike - Alexandria, Va
Glenn Frey sang lead vocals on this song during the Farewell I Tour. In his usual good humor he said that his wife referred to it as "the credit card song"Clay - Chattanooga, Tn
This was a huge hit for the Eagles, and Randy Meisner sang lead vocals. Randy got a little arrogant after the success of this song, decided to leave the Eagles and start a solo career.
He eventually catapulted into obscurity while the Eagles continued to become legendary.
One of the music industries bad decisions of all time!
Dougie - Orlando, Fl
I always loved this song, but it's meaning changed dramatically back in high school. My calculus teacher was a big Eagles fan, and when we were taught the concept of limits, this song was played continuously to get us in the mood for math.

Take it to the limit....one more time.
Colin - Columbia, Md