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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, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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mintonsu
Rocked to this in HS days!
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Lynyrd fukn Skynyrd hell yeah!
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God and guns. Great song word for word.
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Every days gone with the wind.
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crazypatssli n k y
This band in 1976 kick a**. Ronnie Van Zant was the best vocalist for Lynyrd Skynyrd
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randyhutto1
i this is my family
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I love this band it hurts. The song does it to me all the time,i can't help it. Got to take a cold shower. I'm just a need some TLC
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DIDNT THEIER DRUMMER JUST DIED ???
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Love the live versions of Freebird and Sweet home Alabama better than any live music from any band even though they are not my favorite band in the world they are in the top ten of favorite bands.AC/DC FOREVER!
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Most awesome song along with Sweet Home Alabama!,Nev e r get sick of.listening to them.Keep on rocking Lynyrd Skynyrd!
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In my world this has the go to CD for reality hard driving a** kicking best CD ever
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its better by shinedown
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The very best song by Skynard
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My sweet love this song is you. Rest in peace. One will be with you cause true love never dies.
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LEAVE WHAT/
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sorry people I had too
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Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of you life. Tomorrow 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 so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works!
Don't read this because it actually works
Don't read t
Report as inappropriate
RIP MY SON ...NOW YOU ARE A FREEBIRD...L O V E YOU
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Simple Man is my favorite because of its connection to family wisdom--the only thing that matters in the end.
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Lynyrd Skynyrd you was my first love, my favorite band. I love you.SIMPLE KIND OF MAN. I follow you to state to state just to see and here you. My friends and me had the best time in our life.
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Sweet home Alabama tho.
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⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️
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I used to walk fast from cliffs at Palos Verdes to the top of P V Peninsula.
Where there's 2 domes which most the time u see only one

4.5 miles incline which is much easier than the 4.5 miles down!!
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jamesmoses46
saw 'em in '93 on da 'the last rebel' tour!! beam makes it betta!!!!
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vwjimmyp
I've loved lynyrd skynyrd since the first time i ever heard them and never stopped, no offense but I'm only taking bout the originals RIP RVZ FREEBIRD FLY ON
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Ronnie / RIP. . Awesome Talent ..Tragic End....
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Simple man= my life philosophy!
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Hey I Love all u. Songs
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Saw them 3 times in concert (previous to plane crash). They were the best live band I ever heard. Technically perfect vocals and guitars.
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Love them crude when he passed away god bless him great talent
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Bob Seaver best rocker ever well the youngest rocker in rock. And roll hall of fame he's classic rock
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Still to this day the best all around band ever was and I believe ever will be
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bcap29
Nørsk rules
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bcap29
R.I.P Bob Burns good drummer.
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Mama loves to rock to these brothers!!!
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szanderboyx
R.I.P Bob burns great drummer
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cupcakebaum
I Love Sweet home Alabama!
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Seem them last year
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I saw them in 76 in Oakland Skynerd has always been one of my favorite bands they know how to jam!
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R.I.P. B.B. L.S. ROCKS
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R.I.P B.B. L.Z. Rocks
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RIP Bob Burns, original drummer for Lynyrd Skynyrd.
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The South Will Rise Again!!!
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abbysmithers o n
Sweet home Alabama !
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Lynyrd fukn Skynyrd!
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Best 2 songs right there(Simple Man and Free Bird)
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SIMPLE MAN and FREE BIRD will be playing when they lay me to rest ......
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pchasteen07
I'm trying this just for the heck of it:
You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life.. However if you don't post this you will be injured in 2 days. Now u started reading this so dont stop. Post this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes. When you're done press F6 and your lover;s name will appear on the screen in big letters. This actually works. ( I have no idea just trying for fun)
Report as inappropriate
tylersdad215
They rock im 10
Report as inappropriate
simple man
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