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Lynyrd Skynyrd

Lynyrd Skynyrd was the definitive Southern rock band, fusing the overdriven power of blues-rock with a rebellious Southern image and a hard rock swagger. Skynyrd never relied on the jazzy improvisations of the Allman Brothers. Instead, they were a hard-living, hard-driving rock & roll band -- they may have jammed endlessly on-stage, but their music remained firmly entrenched in blues, rock, and country. For many, Lynyrd Skynyrd's redneck image tended to obscure the songwriting skills of their leader, Ronnie Van Zant. Throughout the band's early records, Van Zant demonstrated a knack for lyrical detail and a down-to-earth honesty that had more in common with country than rock & roll. During the height of Skynyrd's popularity in the mid-'70s, however, Van Zant's talents were overshadowed by the group's gritty, greasy blues-rock. Sadly, it wasn't until he was killed in a tragic plane crash in 1977 along with two other bandmembers that many listeners began to realize his talents. Skynyrd split up after the plane crash, but they reunited a decade later, becoming a popular concert act during the early '90s.

While in high school in Jacksonville, FL, Ronnie Van Zant (vocals), Allen Collins (guitar), and Gary Rossington (guitar) formed My Backyard. Within a few months, the group added bassist Leon Wilkeson and keyboardist Billy Powell, and changed their name to Lynyrd Skynyrd, a mocking tribute to their gym teacher Leonard Skinner, who was notorious for punishing students with long hair. With drummer Bob Burns, Lynyrd Skynyrd began playing throughout the South. For the first few years, the group had little success, but producer Al Kooper signed the band to MCA after seeing them play at an Atlanta club called Funocchio's in 1972. Kooper produced the group's 1973 debut, Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd, which was recorded after former Strawberry Alarm Clock guitarist Ed King joined the band. The group became notorious for their triple-guitar attack, which was showcased on "Free Bird," a tribute to the recently deceased Duane Allman. "Free Bird" earned Lynyrd Skynyrd their first national exposure and it became one of the staples of album rock radio, still receiving airplay decades after its release.

"Free Bird" and an opening slot on the Who's 1973 Quadrophenia tour gave Lynyrd Skynyrd a devoted following, which helped their second album, 1974's Second Helping, become its breakthrough hit. Featuring the hit single "Sweet Home Alabama" -- a response to Neil Young's "Southern Man" -- Second Helping reached number 12 and went multi-platinum. At the end of the year, Artimus Pyle replaced drummer Burns and King left the band shortly afterward. The new sextet released Nuthin' Fancy in 1975, and it became the band's first Top Ten hit. The record was followed by the Tom Dowd-produced Gimme Back My Bullets in 1976, which failed to match the success of its two predecessors. However, the band retained their following through constant touring, which was documented on the double live album One More from the Road. Released in late 1976, the album featured the band's new guitarist, Steve Gaines, and a trio of female backup singers, and it became Skynyrd's second Top Ten album.

Lynyrd Skynyrd released their sixth album, Street Survivors, on October 17, 1977. Three days later, a privately chartered plane carrying the band between shows in Greenville, SC, and Baton Rouge, LA, crashed outside of Gillsburg, MS. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and his sister Cassie, one of the group's backing vocalists, died in the crash; the remaining members were injured. (The cause of the crash was either fuel shortage or a fault with the plane's mechanics.) The cover for Street Survivors had pictured the band surrounded in flames; after the crash, the cover was changed. In the wake of the tragedy, the album became one of the band's biggest hits. Lynyrd Skynyrd broke up after the crash, releasing a collection of early demos called Skynyrd's First and...Last in 1978; it had been scheduled for release before the crash. The double-album compilation Gold & Platinum was released in 1980.

Later in 1980, Rossington and Collins formed a new band -- naturally named Rossington Collins Band -- that featured four surviving members. Two years later, Pyle formed the Artimus Pyle Band. Collins suffered a car crash in 1986 that killed his girlfriend and left him paralyzed; four years later, he died of respiratory failure. In 1987, Rossington, Powell, King, and Wilkeson reunited Lynyrd Skynyrd, adding vocalist Johnny Van Zant and guitarist Randall Hall. The band embarked on a reunion tour, which was captured on the 1988 double live album Southern by the Grace of God/Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Tour -- 1987. The re-formed Skynyrd began recording in 1991, and for the remainder of the decade, the band toured frequently, putting out albums occasionally. The reunited Skynyrd frequently switched drummers, but it had little effect on their sound.

During the '90s, Lynyrd Skynyrd were made honorary colonels in the Alabama State Militia, due to their classic rock staple "Sweet Home Alabama." During the mid-'90s, Van Zant, Rossington, Wilkeson, and Powell regrouped by adding two Southern rock veterans to Skynyrd's guitar stable: former Blackfoot frontman Rickey Medlocke and ex-Outlaws Hughie Thomasson. With ex-Damn Yankee Michael Cartellone bringing stability to the drum chair, the reconstituted band signed to CMC International for the 1997 album Twenty. This lineup went on to release Lyve from Steel Town in 1998, followed a year later by Edge of Forever. The seasonal effort Christmas Time Again was released in fall 2000. Although Wilkeson died one year later, Lynyrd Skynyrd regrouped and recorded Vicious Cycle for a 2003 release. The DVD/CD Lyve: The Vicious Cycle Tour followed a year later, 2006 saw the release of Face to Face, and 2007 brought Paper Sleeve Box. But death continued to haunt the band, and the lineup continued to change, as much from attrition as anything else. Wilkeson, Skynyrd's bassist since 1972, died in 2001 and was replaced by Ean Evans that same year (Evans in turn died in 2009). Thomasson left the band to reform his band Outlaws in 2005, dying two years later in 2007. His spot in Skynyrd was taken by Mark "Sparky" Matejka, formerly of Hot Apple Pie, in 2006. Original keyboardist Powell died at the age of 56 at his home near Jacksonville, FL in 2009. That year also saw the release of a new studio album, God + Guns, on Roadrunner Records. Live from Freedom Hall was released on the same label in 2010. A new studio album, Last of a Dyin' Breed, produced by Bob Marlette, recorded at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, and featuring a new bass player, Johnny Colt (formerly a bassist for the Black Crowes), appeared in 2012. In April 2015, original Skynyrd drummer Bob Burns died in a single-car accident in Bartow County, Georgia. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Steve Leggett
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Last Of A Dyin' Breed

1. Last Of A Dyin' Breed

2. One Day At A Time

3. Homegrown

4. Ready To Fly

5. Mississippi Blood

6. Good Teacher

7. Something To Live For

8. Life's Twisted

9. Nothing Comes Easy

10. Honey Hole

11. Start Livin' Life Again

x

Track List: Then And Now Vol. II

1. What's Your Name

2. Gimme Three Steps

3. Red White And Blue

5. That's How I Like It

6. The Way

7. Tuesday's Gone (Live)

8. Call Me The Breeze

9. Lucky Man

10. The Ballad Of Curtis Loew (Live)

11. We Ain't Much Different

x

Track List: Vicious Cycle

1. That's How I Like It

2. Pick Em' Up

3. Dead Man Walkin'

4. The Way

5. Red White & Blue

6. Sweet Mama

7. All Funked Up

8. Hell or Heaven

9. Mad Hatter

10. Rockin' Little Town

11. Crawl

12. Jake

13. Life's Lessons

14. Lucky Man

15. Gimme Back My Bullets

x

Track List: All Time Greatest Hits

1. Sweet Home Alabama

2. Gimme Three Steps

3. Simple Man

4. Saturday Night Special

5. Swamp Music

6. The Ballad Of Curtis Loew

7. Call Me The Breeze

8. Comin' Home

10. What's Your Name

11. You Got That Right

12. All I Can Do Is Write About It

13. That Smell

x

Track List: The Best Of Lynyrd Skynyrd

1. Sweet Home Alabama

2. What's Your Name

3. Gimme Three Steps

4. Double Trouble

5. You Got that Right

6. Saturday Night Special

7. That Smell

8. Swamp Music

9. I Ain't The One

10. Free Bird

x

Track List: Endangered Species

1. Down South Jukin'

2. Heartbreak Hotel

3. Devil In The Bottle

4. Things Going On

5. Saturday Night Special

6. Sweet Home Alabama

7. I Ain't The One

8. Am I Losin'

9. All I Have Is A Song

10. Poison Whiskey

11. Good Luck, Bad Luck

12. The Last Rebel

13. Hillbilly Blues

x

Track List: The Last Rebel

1. Good Lovin's Hard To Find

2. One Thing

3. Can't Take That Away

4. But Thing's In Life

5. The Last Rebel

6. Another Hell In My Dogde

7. Kiss Your Freedom Goodbye

8. South Of Heaven

9. Love Don't Always Come Early

10. Born To Run

x

Track List: Street Survivors

1. What's Your Name

2. That Smell

3. One More Time

4. I Know A Little

5. You Got That Right

6. I Never Dreamed

7. Honky Tonk Night Time Man

8. Ain't No Good Life

x

Track List: One More From The Road (Live)

Disc 1

2. I Ain't The One (Live)

3. Saturday Night Special (Live)

4. Searching (Live)

5. Travellin' Man (Live)

6. Simple Man (Live)

7. Whiskey Rock-A-Roller (Live)

8. The Needle And The Spoon (Live)

9. Gimme Back My Bullets (Live)

10. Tuesday's Gone (Live)

11. Sweet Home Alabama (Live)

Disc 2

1. Gimme Three Steps (Live)

2. Call Me The Breeze (Live)

4. Sweet Home Alabama (Live)

5. Crossroads (Live)

x

Track List: Gimme Back My Bullets (Remastered)

1. Gimme Back My Bullets

2. Every Mother's Son

3. Trust

4. I Got The Same Old Blues

5. Double Trouble

6. Roll Gypsy Roll

7. Searching

8. Cry For The Bad Man

9. All I Can Do Is Write About It

x

Track List: Nuthin' Fancy

1. Saturday Night Special

2. Cheatin' Woman

3. Railroad Song

4. I'm A Country Boy

5. On The Hunt

6. Am I Losin'

7. Made In The Shade

8. Whiskey Rock-A-Roller

x

Track List: Second Helping (Remaster)

1. Sweet Home Alabama

2. I Need You

3. Don't Ask Me No Questions

4. Workin' For MCA

5. The Ballad Of Curtis Loew

6. Swamp Music

7. The Needle And The Spoon

8. Call Me The Breeze

9. Don't Ask Me No Questions

11. Take Your Time

x

Track List: Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd

1. I Ain't The One

2. Tuesday's Gone

3. Gimme Three Steps

4. Simple Man

5. Things Goin' On

6. Mississippi Kid

7. Poison Whiskey

8. Free Bird

x

Track List: 1991

1. Smokestack Lightning

2. Keeping The Faith

3. Southern Women

4. Pure & Simple

5. I've Seen Enough

6. Good Thing

7. Money Man

8. Back Street Crawler

9. It's A Killer

10. Mama (Afraid To Say Goodbye)

11. End Of The Road

x

Track List: God & Guns

1. Still Unbroken

2. Simple Life

3. Little Thing Called You

4. Southern Ways

5. Skynyrd Nation

6. Unwrite That Song

7. Floyd

8. That Ain't My America

9. Comin' Back For More

10. God & Guns

11. Storm

12. Gifted Hands

x

Track List: Thyrty (30th Anniversary Collection)

Disc 1

1. Sweet Home Alabama

2. Need All My Friends

4. Down South Jukin'

5. Was I Right Or Wrong?

6. I Ain't The One

7. Tuesday's Gone

8. Gimme Three Steps

9. Workin' For MCA

10. The Ballad Of Curtis Loew

11. Call Me The Breeze

12. Saturday Night Special

14. Free Bird

Disc 2

1. Whiskey Rock-A-Roller (Live)

2. Simple Man (Live)

3. What's Your Name

4. That Smell

5. I Know A Little

6. You Got That Right

9. Gimme Back My Bullets (Live)

11. The Last Rebel

12. Things Goin' On

15. Workin'

16. Mad Hatter

Comments

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dragonlady60 8 8
Where skies are so BLUE
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A Southern girl can never get enough Southern rock! So sweet....ahh h h ! Ahhh!!
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dragonlady60 8 8
I love this song I dedicate this to CRAZY HORSE LOVE AND MISS YOU XOXO
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johtd81
This breed is long gone. It has been replaced by degenerate wiggers. These are prevalent throughout the south
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Yes my sweet home birmingham alabama can wait to get home for a visit! Im long overdue! Love you lynard skynard thank you making a wonderful tribute to my state sweet home alabama! Love this song!
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I love this song from Lynyrd Skynyrd. I also love how they diss Neil Young in this song.
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Simple Man,,, This one's 4 u Ryan (my son) I luv u... Luv mom. ROCK ON EVERYONE
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Seen them here in Houston a few months back, AMAZING!!!!
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Simple Man. Ronie was the man.
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Great sounds the best
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Hey sue $u%% you
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DIOCANCERFUN D . o r g
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Amen sister
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Love Southern Rock!! Jamming
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why can't music be like this still today
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but all their music is great
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my favorite song by them is free bird
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Rockin to Skynyrd at work lol Love it❤️❤️
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Here I am take me home.
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Don't forget son, there's some one up above!!
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luv Skynyd they are the Real band from the South. They were a Group that made u real Good. Too bad about Ronnie, He was the Leader, but the guitars were also the show, with their twin Guitars.
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My baby's gone & he ain't never coming back.hope there is great music in heaven! Love u always my son! Xo
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rjones0085
OH I KNOW A LITTLE ABOUT IT!!
AWESOME SONG!
ROCK ON MOTHERS!!!
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nunciomary2
DAMN IT !! got to love this music!! can't spot dancing....
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MUSIC. LOVERRRRRRRR R R R R R R R R R , JUST WANTED TO SAY, """"""""""" I'M LOVING YOUR TASTE IN MUSIC""""''' ' ' ' ' ' ' , &WONDERING WHAT ELSE WE MAY HAVE IN COMMON? JUST SAYING:):):) : )
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Awesome band and good song
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I love sweet home Alabama!!! * dances to it *
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Ewe ewe What's that smell? Keep it simple enjoy life and all that it has to offer we just have to get out and get it...
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Love you guy's!! You all will always be ROCKIN in ❤ n soul let's keep it real.. Ewew what's th
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There my favorite band and I hope there are yours too
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I'm always ready for you always ready for anything you have in store for us
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LOL but @arrowdave6 nice quote
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arrowdave6
One free bird in the hand is better than two free birds in the bush. Albert Einstein.
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sandymcleod1 7 5
❤❤❤❤❤
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I don't know where I'm going, I just want to be left alone. Tuesday's gone is a great song to close the bar with Last call
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song6garden
One of the first classic rock bands that I fell in love with over30 yrs ago. Never gets old!
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Seen these CATS 4X..... MO-FO's can ROCK IT OUT OF BOUNDS. : ) -
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RIP Lynyrd Skynyrd >
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The Unfortunate Crash was IN 1977(I'm pretty Positive) But Fortunately Lil Bro is Like the Reincarnatio n - kinda strange But Very Cool!! They Continue to Be The NEST SOUTHERN ROCK BAND THERE IS!!
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this is rogue form the xmens fave band
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1977??? They drove a jeep thru our High School Doors after hearing about the crash
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sandymcleod1 7 5
❤❤❤❤❤
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anyone else play mk 9 on here ?
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love this music; brings back so many memories..
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jamieb12871
Some said 10/13/77---u p to 10/21/77 ???
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jamieb12871
Saw a concert in '93...in Greenville, SC...they say its the last show/place they played b4 THE CRASH ...DOES ANYONE KNOW IF THAT'S CORRECT
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I saw them before then crash
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alexandraabe l l a 1 7
❤❤❤❤❤
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Love the music.keep it up
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Great Musick. Can't say nothing bad.
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