Lynyrd Skynyrd History

September 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

The Lynryd Skynyrd rock band was formed in Jacksonville Florida in 1964. The band that is now known as Lynyrd Skynyrd was originally known as “The Noble Five.” In 1965 the band changed its name to “My Backyard.” In 1970 the band settled on the name “Lynyrd Skynyrd,” the intent of that name was to deride and immortalize a gym teacher known as “Leonard Skinner,” who strictly enforced the schools policy against boys having long hair.

Lynyrd Skynyrd became a famous band in the Southern United States in 1973, as well as it recieved worldwide recognition at this time.

Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash

The Crash That Tore The Band Apart

In October 20th, 1977, three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the assistant road crew manager, and the pilots of the plane, were killed in a plane crash that went down by the Louisiana-Mississippi border. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray were all killed in the plane crash. Aside from the six killed there were fourteen other passengers onboard the plane when it went down. All of the other fourteen passengers were injured but survived.

After the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash, the band went on hiatus for over a decade. It seemed like a tragic ending for such a talented band on the rise to stardom.

The Reunion

In 1987 the band would reform for a reunion tour. The members in the reunion tour included pre-crash survivors Billy Powell, Gary Rossington, Leon Wilkeson and Artimus Pyle. Ed King who had left the band two years prior to the crash, and Ronnie Van Zant’s younger Brother Johnny Van Zant would also join the band.

Allen Collins was unable to play for the band’s reunion, because in 1986, he was driving drunk and crashed his car killing his girlfriend and permanently paralyzing him from the chest down. Collins pled no contest to DUI manslaughter, and was not given a prison sentence since it was obvious that he could never drink and drive again. Since he could not play he was turned into the band’s musical director, and was wheeled onto stage as he explained to his fans why he could no longer play. Showing an example to them of the dangers of drinking and driving.¬†Allen Collins died January 23, 1990, from chronic pneumonia. He was buried next to his wife in Jacksonville Florida.

The reunion did not go completely smooth. There were legal problems for the band, since they were violating an agreement they had made right after the plane crash that they would not exploit the Skynyrd name for profit. At the end of the legal battle as part of the settlement Judy Van Zant and Teresa Gaines (The wives of Steve and Ronnie) collected nearly 30% of the Lynyrd Skynyrd band’s touring revenues.

Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame And Other Honors

On March 13, 2006 the band Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After being nominated a few times prior, they had finally made it alongside Black Sabbath, the Sex Pistols, Miles Davis, and many other famous rockstars.

In 2004, the Rolling Stone magazine ranked them as #95 on the list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.

On October 2008, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song “Freebird” was named the 3rd greatest guitar solo by Guitar World.

In September 2010, VH1 ranked the band as #77 of the 100 greatest artists of all time.

List of Current and former Lynyrd Skynyrd Band Members

Current Lynyrd Skynyrd band members include: Gary Rossington, Rickey Medlocke, Johnny Van Zant, Michael Cartellone, Mark Matejka, Robert Kearns and Peter Keys.

Former Lynyrd Skynyrd band members include: Ronnie Van Zant (Died), Allen Collins (Died), Bob Burns, Larry Junstrom, Greg T. Walker, Ed King, Artimus Pyle, Steve Gaines (Died), Randall Hall, Leon Wilkeson(Died), Billy Powell(Deceased), Kurt Custer, Mike Estes, Owen Hale, Hughie Thomason(Died), Jeff McAllister, Kenny Aronoff, Ean Evans(Died), and Joey Huffman.

The band has survived through the worst of circumstances imaginable. Circumstances that only a strong group could overcome, and yet, it has not only survived but found a way to be a successful band. Lynyrd Skynyrd is a band that is truly worthy of the world’s respect.

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