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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

Comments

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K
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williamedwar d s c h l e g e l 1 1 1 l y n y r d s k y n y r d m u s c l e s h o a l s c a p t a i n b i l l b a n d 2 0 1 5 a d .
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Closing eyes,& WOW. I'm right back in my rm. & listen to FREE BIRD. LOL
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Cool song ...the lord knows i can change
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Tag with Elena Avery
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Love this song! Make me think of Con Air
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alderipu396
Guys, if you have some free time check out ATOCE.COM this is an easy way to make around $400 per week and it's pretty easy to get started. Hope this helps (Share this method if it works for you). ❤️❤️❤️❤️
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They are the best keep rock n
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Cool jam
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Sorry u feel that way...but I do agree an there MUSIC lives on...dum a**..haha
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dpcarpenter7 8
Hi
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Southern rock??!!???! ! ? ? Wake up!!!!!! No TRUE southern band would s**t on there forefathers . Wake up !! RONNIE's GONE !!! (Lynyrd Skynyrd) died with him ! QUIT SHAKIN THE F**KIN CASKIT !!!!!!! Hay Johnny come back to the Deep South with that s**t ,, you have disgraced your BLOOD ,LAND, AND YOUR PEOPLE!! Wake up you young (southern) men .
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I David Alan coe
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atwitznd
Growing up in the south I never realized it was "southern rock" it was just rock music to us!
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What else is there to be said About Lynyrd Skynyrd they are the best southern rock band.
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@lostsailor7 4 9 I know I'm only a teenager who doesn't know much about anything, but I like to think I'd have a little more sense than you. They have a right to fine you since it's illegal in most states
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On the way to the show, Lewioston, NY, a friend in I were pulled over by the cops. they sure can ruin your night. Never got to see the show however I was ticketed for posession of 12 grams of marijuana F**K THE POLICE
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Seen them live this year 2015
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Johnny thinks he's Ronnie,, get over it . Lynyrd Skynyrd died with Ronnie so those back stabbin fakeass wannabees need to start findin another job,, and Ricky you need to put Blackfoot back together . Oh by the way ,, I saw them back in 80 and we were very dissappointe d ! RIP Ronnie
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tom168ko
1 of the best in the 70s
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Lynyrd skyward keep on rocking sweet home Alabama rocks
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RVZ was a true southern man.
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Right on, "Wakeupyoydu m b a s s e s " ! Ronnie would stand by our flag just as quickly as he would denounce all those racist! Keep rockin brother- great name by the way
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Read my profile
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Lynyrd Skynyrd is the epitome of southern rock
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Remember this ,, a southern man don't need (YOU) around anyhow! Ronnie would have never denounced our flag!! God rest your soul Ronnie .
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sweetlilybug 0 3
This song was on despicable me
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Can't wait to sit my son next to me one day and just play this song.
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~☆TURN IT UP!!☆~
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With the whole country freaking out about the confederate flag, the best thing to do is listen to RVZ sing the truth.
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I love the guitars they are awesome and I am her daughter
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I'm 14 and ppl always are surprised when I say Lynyrd Skynyrd is my favorite band ��
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North Carolina bless great dixieland she's been kind and god bless
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When I first heard this song , it struck me in the heart ,, I know one day I will show my son what real music is ,, & this song will be first in my head for him
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Nope
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This is so awesome to have the best song on pandora!!!!! !
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God's got them now but we've got all the good music and the ones that are left god bless them all mother music burn up some good brain cells at the concert hell it was worth it keep listening everybody
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Artemus Pyle crawled through the swamp for something like 6 to 8 hours, seeking help..... The plane was nearly purchased by Aerosmith sometime prior to the crash.
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landen.fam06
First
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markdaume
I was only 11 when their plane went down. But, I was a huge fan from the first time I heard them. I wonder if Ronnie's widow still holds Pyle responsible for Ronnie's death...even though it's not warranted. Skynyrd fan for life!!!!
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Soulful
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I love this song !!��
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I was so lucky to see so many great bands of the 70s but these guys at the top of the list Lynyrd Skynyrd rocks
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Ditto to all !!!
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mikehill7922
How are your parents and are they dead
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Sweet Home Alabama: I don't have any lost luggage but it sure feels good to know that I lost some baggage. Now I feel a lot freer thank you.
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Ronnie Van Zant was one hell of a man.
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sjames04105
Growing up with Lynyrd...... . w a s I lucky......g r o w n now, family, and still can't get enough
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Thy are the best band ever. Can really get u rocking out. It don't matter what album or song I have love them all. 1 of my favorite bands.
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Had their Platinum/Gol d album late 70s IT ROCKED HELL YEAH LOL
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