The American Rock Band 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. 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. While in high school in Jacksonville, FL, Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, and Gary Rossington 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, the band 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. “Free Bird” earned them their first national exposure and it became one of the staples of album rock radio. 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. 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, and it became Lynyrd Skynyrd’s second Top Ten album.
They released their sixth album, Street Survivors, on October 17, 1977. Three days later, a privately chartered plane carrying the band crashed outside of Gillsburg, MS. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and his sister Cassie died in the crash. In the wake of the tragedy, the album became one of the band’s biggest hits. The band broke up after the crash, releasing a collection of early demos called Skynyrd’s first and…Last in 1978.The double-album compilation Gold & Platinum was released in 1980. Later in 1980, Rossington and Collins formed a new band that featured four surviving members. Two years later, Pyle formed the Artimus Pyle Band. In 1987, Rossington, Powell, King, and Wilkeson reunited the band, 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.
Their music will never be forgotten! Make sure you tune in to Deep Jams Radio where we are broadcasting their music now with a live stream of their southern rock, fusing the power of blues-rock and hard rock swagger, as well as rock, and country music and a lot of other great tunes!
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