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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 Steeltown 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 and Lyve from Steel Town. 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. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Steve Leggett, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

svoi23
Sweet home Alabama where the sky so blue
you like lynrd skynrd you will love my band Takin' a southern s**t with bethany
Don't mean to be bad taste but a lot of death is in that band.
Say miley Cyrus 5times and post to three diff. Songs and look under your pillow and see wht happens
Don't read this cause it actually works, you will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life! However if you do not post this to at least 3 song's you will die in 2 day's! Now that you've started reading this, don't stop! This is so scary, put it on at least five song's in at least 143 minutes, when done press F6 and your lover's name wil appear on your screen in big letter's, this is so scary cuz it actually works!
Ok
Saw them last week in Orlando. It was GREAT!!!!!!! they can still bring it. Nice tribute to billy. Tuesdays gone the best song ever!!!!!!
Heart of dixie
Sounding a bit thin today are you Lenard?
hppickles
This a awesome song
Great music
now this is what I call music
gregory.denn i s 0
That is correct, Street Survivors was reissued with the original cover.
milosdad
Popularity has nothing to do with the original art work for street survivor. It was thought that the flames that engulfed the band on the album cover was in poor taste given the plane wreck so they removed it from circulation. I still see it out there on used bins and I believe they actually rereleased it.
@Gary Cristani the reason you dont see the original street survivor album cover is because there is only about 2000 of that cover out there and it is not the most popular artwork for that album
This band kicks a little a**
This song is from despicable me!!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
GOING BACK IN TIME
Metallica did this better. F**k your opinion.
Why don't you use the original album cover from Street Survivors
Birds don't change always fly away
skynyrd is the most overrated classless possibly even racist drivel and I don't know how they ended up on our default page
grew up on skynyrd they rock country style
peavey amps f**ks yeah
one of the greatest by far
Hale To Lynyed Skynyrd
I SECONDTHAT SKYNYRD
smahoney6104
No Band Better, just to clarify!!
smahoney6104
No song better!!! EVER lol, me too don't leave on a trip without them!!
I ve allways started an finished road trips playng them !!!
Love them!!!!
One of, if not the greatest band of all time! (This is my opinion & I am entitled to it, if you disagree, don't try to start an argument. Thank you!)
I cant get the sound to work,it has always worked before now it has quit.This upsets me,I love Pandora.
Simple Man, is one of the best songs I have ever heard. I first heard it so long ago at a time I wasn't anywhere close to a Simple Man, but it still got to me. Now I am a Simple Man and I have never been happier<><
That's the Rock!!!
Ive been listening to LS for years, I love the old and the new. Rock on brother!!!
saw them the summer of 77 rip ronnie cassie and steve
Fuc$ justina beaver and one erection this is da s**T
if u don't luv this music u r 22222 young!
love them
charlott92
This song is fantastic
a true nectar sector!!!
'THE SONG' that begun my love of music. I hate aeroplanes!
If this don't get you moving nothing will
Now that's rock and roll
I feel sorry for t.tantley12 he must have justin biebers and onedirection s penis in his a**. Lynyrd skynyrd will and always will be the best
ganz1009
I love them!
Awsome I have the cd
stephenosand e r s 6
The Best of Sounds of the South. What did you expect? They are from Jacksonville , FL.
tinkerbell_t o n y a
Don,t read this,because it actually works.You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday, by the love of your life.Tomorro w will be the best day of your life .However,if you don,t post this , you will die in 2 days .Now you,ve started reading this ,don,t stop.This is so scary.Post this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes.When done , press f6 and your lovers name will come up on the screen .This is so scary , because it works.f6
The new Lynard Skynard can't sing like the old one. Not nearly as good. I think everyone knows that.
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