Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute

October 20, 1977 Ronnie van Zant, Steven Gaines,Cassie Gaines,
died in an airplane crash.
Allen Collins died in 1990.

180 K Real Audio

Lynyrd Skynyrd was discovered playing in an Atlanta club by Blood Sweat And Tears founder Al Kooper in 1972. Kooper signed them to his new Sounds of the South record label and released Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd, which included the classic "Freebird," probably the second most requested song in rock history. The band which drew heavily from the hard English bluesrock sound had the good fortune to have a fan in the Who's Pete Townshend, who requested that Skynyrd open for the 1973 Quadrophenia tour. As a result the band developed a strong fan base early in their career. "Sweet Home Alabama" from Second Helping was the band's biggest single. Other singles included "Saturday Night Special," "What's your Name," and "You Got That Right."

Tragically the band's career was cut short when their plane crashed At 6:42 PM October 20, 1977. Gaines, his sister Cassie Gaines (one of three female backup singers), Ronnie Van Zant, and their personal manager Dean Kilpatrick were killed when their rented single-engine Convair 240 plane short of fuel crashed into a swamp in Gillsburg, MS enroute to play at a Louisiana University on a 50 city tour. Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Billy Powell and Leon Wilkenson were all seriously injured but eventually recovered.

One week earlier, the band had released its fourth album, Sreet Survivors, which pictured the band surrounded by flames. Five hundred thousend copies had already been sold when the crach occurred. The remaining copies were pulled and a new cover was designed. Ronny van Zant was buried in Jacksonville, "Freebird" the song he wrote as a tribute to Duane Allman, was plaid in dedication to him.

Surviving guitar player Allan Collins lost his wife in 1980 and in 1986 his girlfriend. Allen formed the short-livrd Rossington-Collins Band with other Lynyrd Skynyrd survivors, became wheelchair-bound from a car accident, and died of pneumonia on Jnuary- 23 -1990 Aged 37.


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