Lynyrd Skynyrd

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Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd band (1973).jpg
Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1973
Background information
Origin Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.
Genres
Years active
  • 1964 (1964)–1977 (1977)
  • 1979
  • 1987 (1987)–present (present)
Labels
Associated acts
Website lynyrdskynyrd.com
Members
Past membersSee band members section and members list article

Lynyrd Skynyrd ( /ˌlɛnərdˈskɪnərd/ LEN-ərd SKIN-ərd) [2] is an American rock band best known for popularizing the Southern rock genre during the 1970s with songs such as "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Free Bird". It formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1964 under the name My Backyard with original members Ronnie Van Zant (vocals), Gary Rossington (guitar), Allen Collins (guitar), Larry Junstrom (bass guitar) and Bob Burns (drums). The band spent five years touring small venues under a variety of different names and with several lineup changes before finally deciding on "Lynyrd Skynyrd" in 1969. The band released their first album in 1973, having settled on a lineup that included bassist Leon Wilkeson and former Strawberry Alarm Clock guitarist Ed King. Burns would later be replaced by Artimus Pyle and King by Steve Gaines. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and backup singer Cassie Gaines were killed in an airplane crash on October 20, 1977, putting an abrupt end to the 1970s era of the band.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Southern rock is a subgenre of rock music and a genre of Americana. It developed in the Southern United States from rock and roll, country music, and blues, and is focused generally on electric guitar and vocals. Although the origin of the term Southern rock is unknown, "many people feel that these important contributors to the development of rock and roll have been minimized in rock's history."

Contents

The band re-formed in 1987 for a reunion tour with Ronnie's brother, Johnny Van Zant, as its lead vocalist. Lynyrd Skynyrd continues to tour and record with co-founder Gary Rossington (being the band's sole continuous member), Johnny Van Zant, and Rickey Medlocke, who first wrote and recorded with the band from 1971 to 1972 before his return in 1996.

Johnny Van Zant American singer

Johnny Roy Van Zant is an American musician and the current lead vocalist of Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. He is the younger brother of the late Lynyrd Skynyrd co-founder and former lead vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, and of the 38 Special founder Donnie Van Zant.

Gary Rossington American musician and founderofLynyrd Skynyrd.

Gary Robert Rossington is an American musician best known as a founder of southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, in which he is the sole constant member. He plays lead and rhythm guitar. He was a founding member of the Rossington Collins Band along with former bandmate, Allen Collins.

Rickey Medlocke American rock musician

Rickey Medlocke is an American musician best known as the frontman/guitarist for the southern rock band Blackfoot and a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd. During his first stint with Lynyrd Skynyrd from 1971-1972 he played drums and sang lead on a few songs that would initially be released on 1978's "First and Last". Medlocke would rejoin Blackfoot in 1972 and later returned to Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1996 as a guitarist with whom he continues to tour and record today.

Lynyrd Skynyrd has sold 28 million records in the United States. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 13, 2006. [3] In January 2018, Lynyrd Skynyrd announced their farewell tour, [4] and are also working on a final studio album. [5]

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Hall of fame located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, on the shore of Lake Erie, recognizes and archives the history of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers, and other notable figures who have had some major influence on the development of rock and roll. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was established on April 20, 1983, by Ahmet Ertegun, founder and chairman of Atlantic Records. In 1986, Cleveland was chosen as the Hall of Fame's permanent home.

The Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour is a concert tour by the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. It is intended to be the final tour conducted by the band. It began May 4, 2018, at the Coral Sky Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, Florida and is currently set to end on October 11, 2019 at Great Stage Park in Manchester, Tennessee. The band will utilize a plethora of opening acts, including Bad Company, Kid Rock, and Hank Williams Jr., throughout the tour.

History

Early years (1964-1973)

In Jacksonville, Florida during the summer of 1964, Ronnie Van Zant, Bob Burns, and Gary Rossington became acquainted while playing on rival baseball teams. The trio decided to jam together one afternoon after Burns was injured by a ball hit by Van Zant. They set up their equipment in the carport of Burns' parents' house and played The Rolling Stones' then-current hit "Time Is on My Side". Liking what they heard, they immediately decided to form a band. They soon approached guitarist Allen Collins to join the band, though Collins initially fled on his bicycle and hid in a tree at the sight of Van Zant pulling into his driveway. Collins was soon convinced that Van Zant meant him no harm and he agreed to join the fledgling band. [6] Bassist Larry Junstrom soon rounded out the lineup and the band settled on the name My Backyard, later changed to The Noble Five [7] before becoming The One Percent by 1968. [7]

Jacksonville, Florida Largest city in Florida

Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida, the most populous city in the southeastern United States and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968. Consolidation gave Jacksonville its great size and placed most of its metropolitan population within the city limits. As of 2017, Jacksonville's population was estimated to be 892,062. The Jacksonville metropolitan area has a population of 1,523,615 and is the fourth largest in Florida.

Ronnie Van Zant American singer, songwriter, and founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd

Ronald Wayne Van Zant was an American lead vocalist, singer, primary lyricist, and founding member of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. He was the older brother of two other rock vocalists: current Lynyrd Skynyrd lead vocalist Johnny Van Zant, and Donnie Van Zant, the founder and vocalist of 38 Special. He was the father of Tammy Van Zant and Melody Van Zant.

Bob Burns (drummer) American musician

Robert Lewis Burns Jr. was an American drummer who was in the original line-up of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Leonard Skinner was a physical education instructor at Robert E. Lee High School (pictured) in Jacksonville, Florida known for his strict enforcement of the school's hair code RobertELeeHSJacksonvilleFlorida.jpg
Leonard Skinner was a physical education instructor at Robert E. Lee High School (pictured) in Jacksonville, Florida known for his strict enforcement of the school's hair code

Still known as The One Percent in 1969, Van Zant sought a new name after growing tired of taunts from audiences that the band had "1% talent". At Burns' suggestion, [6] the group settled on Leonard Skinnerd, a mocking tribute to P.E. teacher Leonard Skinner at Robert E. Lee High School. [8] Skinner was notorious for strictly enforcing the school's policy against boys having long hair. [9] Rossington dropped out of school, tired of being hassled about his hair. [10] The more distinctive spelling "Lynyrd Skynyrd" was being used at least as early as 1970. Despite their high school acrimony, the band developed a friendlier relationship with Skinner in later years, and invited him to introduce them at a concert in the Jacksonville Memorial Coliseum. [11] Skinner also allowed the band to use a photo of his Leonard Skinner Realty sign for the inside of their third album. [12]

Physical education educational course related to the physique of the human body

Physical education, also known as Phys Ed., PE, gym, or gym class, and known in many Commonwealth countries as physical training or PT, is an educational course related to maintaining the human body through physical exercises. It is taken during primary and secondary education and encourages psychomotor learning in a play or movement exploration setting to promote health.

Leonard Skinner American teacher

Forby Leonard Skinner was an American high school gym teacher, basketball coach, and businessman from Jacksonville, Florida. He is known in popular culture as the namesake of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.

By 1970, Lynyrd Skynyrd had become a top band in Jacksonville, headlining at some local concerts, and opening for several national acts. Pat Armstrong, a Jacksonville native and partner in Macon, Georgia-based Hustlers Inc. with Phil Walden's younger brother, Alan Walden, became the band's managers. Armstrong left Hustlers shortly thereafter to start his own agency. Walden stayed with the band until 1974, when management was turned over to Peter Rudge. The band continued to perform throughout the South in the early 1970s, further developing their hard-driving blues rock sound and image, and experimenting with recording their sound in a studio. Skynyrd crafted this distinctively "southern" sound through a creative blend of country, blues, and a slight British rock influence. [13]

Macon, Georgia Consolidated city-county in Georgia, United States

Macon, officially Macon–Bibb County, is a consolidated city-county located in the state of Georgia, United States. Macon lies near the geographic center of the state, approximately 85 miles (137 km) south of Atlanta, hence the city's nickname "The Heart of Georgia".

Phil Walden American businessman

Phil Walden was co-founder of the Macon, Georgia-based Capricorn Records with Alan Walden and a close friend, former Atlantic Records executive Frank Fenter.

Alan Walden American talent agent

Alan Walden is an American manager, publisher, booking agent, and promoter.

During this time, the band experienced some lineup changes for the first time. Junstrom left and was briefly replaced by Greg T. Walker on bass. At that time, Rickey Medlocke joined as a second guitarist and occasional second vocalist to help fortify Burns' sound on the drums. Medlocke grew up with the founding members of Lynyrd Skynyrd and his grandfather Shorty Medlocke was an influence in the writing of "The Ballad of Curtis Loew". Some versions of the band's history state Burns briefly left the band during this time, [14] although other versions state that Burns played with the band continuously through 1974. [15] The band played some shows with both Burns and Medlocke, using a dual-drummer approach. In 1971, they made some recordings at the famous Muscle Shoals Sound Studio with Walker and Medlocke serving as the rhythm section, but without the participation of Burns.[ citation needed ] Medlocke and Walker left the band to play with another southern rock band, Blackfoot. When Lynyrd Skynyrd made a second round of Muscle Shoals recordings in 1972, Burns was once again featured on drums along with new bassist, Leon Wilkeson. Medlocke and Walker did not appear on any album until the 1978 release of First and... Last , which compiled the early Muscle Shoals sessions. Also in 1972, roadie Billy Powell became the band's keyboardist after Ronnie Van Zant heard him playing his rendition of Freebird.

Peak (1973–1977)

In 1972, the band (then comprising Van Zant, Collins, Rossington, Burns, Wilkeson, and Powell) was discovered by musician, songwriter, and producer Al Kooper of Blood, Sweat & Tears, who had attended one of their shows at Funocchio's in Atlanta. Kooper signed them to his Sounds of the South label that was to be distributed and supported by MCA Records, and produced their first album. Wilkeson, citing nervousness about fame, temporarily left the band during the early recording sessions for the album, only playing on two tracks. He rejoined the band shortly after the album's release at Van Zant's invitation[ citation needed ] and is pictured on the album cover. To replace him, Strawberry Alarm Clock guitarist Ed King joined the band and played bass on the album (the only part which Wilkeson had not already written being the solo section in "Simple Man"), and also contributed to the songwriting and did some guitar work on the album. After Wilkeson rejoined, King stayed in the band and switched solely to guitar, allowing the band to replicate its three-guitar studio mix in live performances. Released on August 13, 1973, [16] the self-titled album with the subtitle "Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA. [17] The album featured the hit song "Free Bird", which received national airplay, [18] eventually reaching No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. [19]

Lynyrd Skynyrd's fan base continued to grow rapidly throughout 1973, largely due to their opening slot on the Who's Quadrophenia tour in the United States. Their 1974 follow-up, Second Helping , featuring King, Collins and Rossington all collaborating with Van Zant on the songwriting, cemented the band's breakthrough. Its single, "Sweet Home Alabama", a response to Neil Young's "Southern Man", reached #8 on the charts that August. (Young and Van Zant were not rivals, but fans of each other's music and good friends; Young wrote the song "Powderfinger" for the band, but they never recorded it.) [20] During their peak years, each of their records sold over one million copies, but "Sweet Home Alabama" was the only single to crack the top ten. [18] The Second Helping album reached No. 12 in 1974, eventually going multi-platinum. In July of that year, Lynyrd Skynyrd was one of the headline acts at The Ozark Music Festival held at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, Missouri.[ citation needed ]

By 1975, personal issues began to take their toll on the band. In January, drummer Burns left the band after suffering a mental breakdown during a European tour [6] and was replaced by Kentucky native and former US Marine Artimus Pyle. The band's third album, Nuthin' Fancy , was recorded in 17 days. [21] Unhappy with the band's lack of preparation for the album's recording, [6] Kooper and the band parted ways by mutual agreement before its release, with Kooper left with the tapes to complete the mix. [22] Though the album fared well, it ultimately had lower sales than its predecessors. Midway through the Nuthin' Fancy tour, guitarist Ed King abruptly left the band after a falling out with Van Zant. Van Zant and King's guitar roadie were arrested the night prior and spent the night in jail. With his guitar roadie unavailable, King played that night's show with old strings which broke and caused his performance to be substandard, and Van Zant subsequently belittled him in front of his bandmates. King quit and returned home to Los Angeles, believing Van Zant had been responsible for his guitar roadie being in jail in the first place. [6] The band continued for the next several months with two guitarists rather than their usual "three guitar army". In January 1976, backup singers Leslie Hawkins, Cassie Gaines and JoJo Billingsley (collectively known as The Honkettes) were added, although they were not considered official members. Lynyrd Skynyrd's fourth album Gimme Back My Bullets was released, but did not achieve the same success as the previous two albums. Van Zant and Collins both felt that the band was seriously missing the three-guitar attack that had been one of its early hallmarks. Although Skynyrd auditioned several guitarists, including such high-profile names as Leslie West, its search continued until Cassie Gaines began touting the guitar and songwriting prowess of her younger brother, Steve.

Then Steve Gaines, who led his own band, Crawdad (which occasionally would perform Skynyrd's "Saturday Night Special" in their set), was invited to audition onstage with Skynyrd at a concert in Kansas City on May 11, 1976. Liking what they heard, the group also jammed informally with the Oklahoma native several times, then invited him into the group in June. With Gaines on board, the newly reconstituted band recorded the double-live album One More from the Road at the Fox Theatre (Atlanta, Georgia) in Atlanta, and performed at the Knebworth festival in Great Britain, headlined by the Rolling Stones.

Crowd at Knebworth House - 120.000 - 1976 Crowd at Knebworth House - Rolling Stones 1976.jpg
Crowd at Knebworth House - 120.000 - 1976
Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1977 Lynyrd Skynyrd (1977).jpg
Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1977

Both Collins and Rossington had serious car accidents over Labor Day weekend in 1976, which slowed the recording of the follow-up album and forced the band to cancel some concert dates. Rossington's accident inspired the ominous Van Zant/Collins composition "That Smell" – a cautionary tale about drug abuse that was clearly aimed towards him and at least one other band member. Rossington has admitted repeatedly that he was the "Prince Charming" of the song who crashed his car into an oak tree while drunk and stoned on Quaaludes. With the birth of his daughter Melody in 1976, Van Zant was making a serious attempt to clean up his act and curtail the cycle of boozed-up brawling that was part of Skynyrd's reputation. [6]

1977's Street Survivors turned out to be a showcase for guitarist/vocalist Steve Gaines, who had joined the band just a year earlier and was making his studio debut with them. Publicly and privately, Ronnie Van Zant marveled at the multiple talents of Skynyrd's newest member, claiming that the band would "all be in his shadow one day". [23] Gaines' contributions included his co-lead vocal with Van Zant on the co-written "You Got That Right" and the rousing guitar boogie "I Know a Little", which he had written before he joined Skynyrd. So confident was Skynyrd's leader of Gaines' abilities that the album (and some concerts) featured Gaines delivering his self-penned bluesy "Ain't No Good Life" – the only song in the pre-crash Skynyrd catalog to feature a lead vocalist other than Ronnie Van Zant. The album also included the hit singles "What's Your Name" and "That Smell". The band was poised for their biggest tour yet, with shows always highlighted by the iconic rock anthem "Free Bird". [24] In November, the band was scheduled to fulfill Van Zant's lifelong dream of headlining New York's Madison Square Garden.[ citation needed ]

Plane crash (1977)

Following a performance at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium in Greenville, South Carolina, on October 20, 1977, the band boarded a chartered Convair CV-240 bound for Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where they were scheduled to appear at LSU the following night. After running out of fuel the pilots attempted an emergency landing before crashing in a heavily forested area five miles northeast of Gillsburg, Mississippi. [25] [26] Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines, along with backup singer Cassie Gaines (Steve's older sister), assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray were killed on impact; other band members (Collins, Rossington, Wilkeson, Powell, Pyle, and Hawkins), tour manager Ron Eckerman, [27] and several road crew suffered serious injuries.

The accident came just three days after the release of Street Survivors . Following the crash and the ensuing press, Street Survivors became the band's second platinum album and reached No. 5 on the U.S. album chart. The single "What's Your Name" reached No. 13 on the single charts in 1978. The original cover sleeve for Street Survivors had featured a photograph of the band engulfed in flames, with Steve Gaines nearly obscured by fire. Out of respect for the deceased (and at the request of Teresa Gaines, Steve's widow), MCA Records withdrew the original cover and replaced it with the album's back photo, a similar image of the band against a simple black background. [28] Thirty years later, for the deluxe CD version of Street Survivors, the original "flames" cover was restored.

Lynyrd Skynyrd disbanded after the tragedy, reuniting only on one occasion to perform an instrumental version of "Free Bird" at Charlie Daniels' Volunteer Jam V in January 1979. Collins, Rossington, Powell, and Pyle were joined by Daniels and members of his band. Leon Wilkeson, who was still undergoing physical therapy for his badly broken left arm, was in attendance, along with Judy Van Zant, Teresa Gaines, JoJo Billingsley, and Leslie Hawkins.[ citation needed ]

Hiatus (1977–1987)

Rossington, Collins, Wilkeson and Powell formed the Rossington-Collins Band, which released two MCA albums, "Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere" in 1980 and "This Is The Way" in 1981. Deliberately avoiding comparisons with Ronnie Van Zant as well as suggestions that this band was Lynyrd Skynyrd reborn, Rossington and Collins chose a woman, Dale Krantz, as the lead vocalist. However, as an acknowledgement of their past, the band's concert encore would always be an instrumental version of "Free Bird". Rossington and Collins eventually had a falling out over the affections of Dale Krantz, whom Rossington married and with whom he formed the Rossington Band, which released two albums in the late 1980s, "Returned to the Scene of the Crime" in 1986 and "Love Your Man" in 1988 and also opened for the Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Tour in 1987–1988.[ citation needed ]

The other former members of Lynyrd Skynyrd continued to make music during the hiatus era. Billy Powell played keyboards in a Christian rock band named Vision, touring with established Christian rocker Mylon LeFevre. During Vision concerts, Powell's trademark keyboard talent was often spotlighted and he spoke about his conversion to Christianity after the near-fatal plane crash. Pyle formed the Artimus Pyle Band in 1982, which occasionally featured former Honkettes JoJo Billingsley and Leslie Hawkins [29] and released one MCA album titled "A.P.B.".

In 1980, Allen Collins' wife Kathy died of a massive hemorrhage while miscarrying their third child. He formed the Allen Collins Band in 1983 from the remnants of the Rossington-Collins Band and released one MCA studio album titled "Here, There & Back". He was visibly suffering from Kathy's death; he excessively drank and consumed drugs. On January 29, 1986, Collins, then 33, crashed his Ford Thunderbird into a ditch near his home in Jacksonville, killing his girlfriend Debra Jean Watts and leaving himself permanently paralyzed from the chest down. [30]

Return (1987–1995)

In 1987, Lynyrd Skynyrd reunited for a full-scale tour with five major members of the pre-crash band: crash survivors Gary Rossington, Billy Powell, Leon Wilkeson and Artimus Pyle, along with guitarist Ed King, who had left the band two years before the crash. Ronnie Van Zant's younger brother, Johnny, took over as the new lead singer and primary songwriter. Due to founding member Allen Collins' paralysis from his 1986 car accident, he was only able to participate as the musical director, choosing Randall Hall, his former bandmate in the Allen Collins Band, as his stand-in. In return for avoiding prison following his guilty plea to DUI manslaughter Collins would be wheeled out onstage each night to explain to the audience why he could no longer perform (usually before the performance of "That Smell", which had been partially directed at him). Collins was stricken with pneumonia in 1989 and died on January 23, 1990, leaving Rossington as the only remaining founding member.[ citation needed ]

The reunited band was intended to be a one-time tribute to the original lineup, captured on the double-live album Southern by the Grace of God: Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Tour 1987. That the band chose to continue after the 1987 tribute tour caused legal problems for the survivors, as Judy Van Zant Jenness and Teresa Gaines Rapp (widows of Ronnie and Steve, respectively) sued the others for violating an agreement made shortly after the plane crash, stating that they would not "exploit" the Skynyrd name for profit. As part of the settlement, Jenness and Rapp collect nearly 30% of the band's touring revenues (representing the shares their husbands would have earned had they lived), and hold a proviso requiring any band touring as Lynyrd Skynyrd to include Rossington and at least two of the other four surviving members from the pre-crash era, namely Wilkeson, Powell, King and Pyle. [31] However, continued lineup changes and natural attrition has led to a relaxation in recent years.

The band released its first post-reunion album in 1991, entitled Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991. By that time, the band had added a second drummer, Kurt Custer. Artimus Pyle left the band during the same year, with Custer becoming the band's sole drummer. That lineup released a second post-reunion album, entitled The Last Rebel in 1993. Later that year, Randall Hall was replaced by Mike Estes. The band's third post-reunion album, Endangered Species , featured mostly acoustic instrumentation and remakes of many of the band's classic 1970s songs. On the album, Kurt Custer was replaced by Owen Hale on drums.

Member changes and deaths (1996–2018)

Ed King had to take a break from touring in 1996 due to heart complications that required a transplant. In his absence, he was replaced by Hughie Thomasson. The band did not let King rejoin after he recovered. [32] At the same time, Mike Estes was replaced by Rickey Medlocke, who had previously played and recorded with the band for a short time in the early 1970s. The result was a major retooling of the band's 'guitar army'. Medlocke and Thomasson would also become major contributors to the band's songwriting along with Rossington and Van Zant.

The first album with this new lineup, released in 1997, was entitled Twenty. The band released another album, Edge of Forever in 1999. By that time, Hale had left the band, and the drums on the album were played by session drummer Kenny Aronoff. Michael Cartellone became the band's permanent drummer on the subsequent tour. Despite the growing number of post-reunion albums that band had released up to this time, setlists showed that the band was playing mostly 1970s-era material in concert.

The band released a Christmas album, entitled Christmas Time Again in 2000. Leon Wilkeson, Skynyrd's bassist since 1972, was found dead in his hotel room on July 27, 2001. His death was found to be due to emphysema and chronic liver disease. He was replaced in 2001 by Ean Evans. [33] Wilkeson's death resulted in the band with two remaining members from the classic pre-crash lineups.

The first album to feature Evans was Vicious Cycle, released in 2003. This album had improved sales over the other post-reunion albums, and had a minor hit single in the song "Red, White and Blue". The band also released a double collection album called Thyrty , which had songs from the original lineup to the present, and also a live DVD of their Vicious Cycle Tour and on June 22, 2004, the album Lynyrd Skynyrd Lyve: The Vicious Cycle Tour .

On December 10, 2004, the band did a show for CMT, Crossroads, a concert featuring country duo Montgomery Gentry and other genres of music. In the beginning of 2005 Hughie Thomasson left the band to reform his Southern Rock band Outlaws. Thomasson died in his sleep on September 9, 2007 of an apparent heart attack in his home in Brooksville, Florida; he was 55 years old.[ citation needed ]

On February 5, 2005, Lynyrd Skynyrd did a Super Bowl party in Jacksonville with special guests 3 Doors Down, Jo Dee Messina, Charlie Daniels and Ronnie and Johnny Van Zant's brother Donnie Van Zant of 38 Special. On February 13 of that year Lynyrd Skynyrd did a tribute to Southern Rock on the Grammy Awards with Gretchen Wilson, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban and Dickey Betts. In the summer of 2005, lead singer Johnny Van Zant had to have surgery on his vocal cord to have a polyp removed. He was told not to sing for three months. On September 10, 2005, Lynyrd Skynyrd performed without Johnny Van Zant at the Music Relief Concert for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, with Kid Rock standing in for Johnny. In December 2005, Johnny Van Zant returned to sing for Lynyrd Skynyrd. The band performed live at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky, as a part of their 2007 tour. The concert was recorded in high definition for HDNet and premiered on December 1, 2007.[ citation needed ]

The band in 2008 Lynyrd 2008 (1).jpg
The band in 2008

Mark "Sparky" Matejka, formerly of the country music band Hot Apple Pie, joined Lynyrd Skynyrd in 2006 as Thomasson's replacement. On November 2, 2007, the band performed for a crowd of 50,000 people at the University of Florida's Gator Growl student-run pep rally in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium ("The Swamp" football stadium). This was the largest crowd that Lynyrd Skynyrd had played to in the U.S., until the July 2008 Bama Jam in Enterprise, Alabama where more than 111,000 people attended. [34]

On January 28, 2009, keyboardist Billy Powell died of a suspected heart attack at age 56 at his home near Jacksonville, Florida. No autopsy was carried out. He was replaced by Peter Keys. [35] Powell's death left co-founding member Gary Rossington as the only remaining current member tied to the popular 1970s era lineup of the band, though current guitarist Ricky Medlocke did briefly drum for the band in the early 1970s, before the band signed with MCA Records and released their debut album.

On March 17, 2009, it was announced that Skynyrd had signed a worldwide deal with Roadrunner Records, in association with their label, Loud & Proud Records, and released their new album God & Guns on September 29 of that year. They toured Europe and the U.S. in 2009 with Keys on keyboards and Robert Kearns of the Bottle Rockets on bass; bassist Ean Evans died of cancer at age 48 on May 6, 2009. [33] Scottish rock band Gun performed as special guests for the UK leg of Skynyrd's tour in 2010. [36]

In addition to the tour, Skynyrd appeared at the Sean Hannity Freedom Concert series in late 2010. Hannity had been actively promoting the God & Guns album, frequently playing portions of the track "That Ain't My America" on his radio show. The tour is titled "Rebels and Bandoleros". The band continued to tour throughout 2011, playing alongside ZZ Top and the Doobie Brothers. [37]

On May 2, 2012, the band announced the impending release of a new studio album, Last of a Dyin' Breed , along with a North American and European tour. [38] On August 21, 2012, Last of a Dyin' Breed was released. In celebration, the band did four autograph signings throughout the southeast. [39] Lyrynrd Skynyrd have used a Confederate flag since the 1970s and several criticisms have been raised against them because of this. [40] [41] While promoting the album on CNN on September 9, 2012, members of the band talked about its discontinued use of Confederate imagery. [42] In September 2012, the band briefly did not display the Confederate flag, which had for years been a part of their stage show, because they did not want to be associated with racists that adopted the flag. However, after protests from fans, they reversed this decision, citing it as part of their Southern American heritage and states' rights symbolism. [43]

Original drummer Bob Burns died aged 64 on April 3, 2015; his car crashed into a tree while he was driving alone near his home in Cartersville, Georgia. [44] From 2015 through 2017, the band had periods of being sidelined or having to cancel shows due to health problems suffered by founding member Gary Rossington. [45]

Former member Ed King, who had been battling cancer, [40] died in his Nashville, Tennessee home on August 22, 2018 at 68 years of age. [46]

Farewell tour and upcoming fifteenth album (2018–present)

On January 25, 2018, Lynyrd Skynyrd announced their Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour, which started on May 4, 2018. Supporting acts include Kid Rock, Hank Williams Jr., Bad Company, The Charlie Daniels Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, .38 Special, Cheap Trick, Blackberry Smoke, the Randy Bachman Band and Blackfoot. [4] Concerts are on Fridays and Saturdays except a special show in Jacksonville on Sunday, September 2.

On March 19, 2019, Johnny Van Zant announced that the band intended to go into the studio to record one last album after completing the tour with several songs ready or "in the can". [47]

Recognition

Honors

In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the group No. 95 on their list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time". [48] [49]

On November 28, 2005, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced that Lynyrd Skynyrd would be inducted alongside Black Sabbath, Blondie, Miles Davis, and the Sex Pistols. [50] They were inducted in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan on March 13, 2006 during the Hall's 21st annual induction ceremony. The inductees included Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, Gary Rossington, Ed King, Steve Gaines, Billy Powell, Leon Wilkeson, Bob Burns, and Artimus Pyle (post-crash members, the Honkettes, and pre-crash members Rickey Medlocke, Larry Junstrom, and Greg T. Walker, were not inducted). The current version of Skynyrd, augmented by King, Pyle, Burns, and former Honkettes JoJo Billingsley and Leslie Hawkins, performed "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Free Bird" at the ceremony, which was also attended by Judy Van Zant Jenness and Ronnie's two daughters, Teresa Gaines Rapp and her daughter Corinna, Allen Collins' daughters, and Leon Wilkeson's mother and son.

Tributes

Biopic

On April 4, 2017, a biopic, Street Survivors, has cast the leads and begins shooting at month's end. [55]

Band members

Final Lineup

Touring members

Discography

Studio albums

Date of releaseTitle Billboard peak RIAA cert. Label
August 13, 1973 (Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd) 272× Platinum MCA
April 25, 1974 Second Helping 122× Platinum
March 24, 1975 Nuthin' Fancy 9Platinum
February 2, 1976 Gimme Back My Bullets 20Gold
October 17, 1977 Street Survivors 52× Platinum
June 11, 1991 Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991 64 Atlantic
February 16, 1993 The Last Rebel 64
August 9, 1994 Endangered Species Capricorn
April 29, 1997 Twenty 97 CMC
August 10, 1999 Edge of Forever 96
September 12, 2000 Christmas Time Again 38
May 20, 2003 Vicious Cycle 30 Sanctuary
September 29, 2009 God & Guns 18 Roadrunner
August 21, 2012 Last of a Dyin' Breed 14

Related Research Articles

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Leon Russell Wilkeson was the bassist of Southern rock Band Lynyrd Skynyrd from 1972 until his death in 2001.

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<i>Street Survivors</i> 1977 studio album by Lynyrd Skynyrd

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<i>Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991</i> 1991 studio album by Lynyrd Skynyrd

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<i>Skynyrds First and... Last</i> 1978 compilation album by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Skynyrd's First and...Last was the original name of the posthumous compilation album first released in 1978 by the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. The original 1978 version of the album is now out of print. In 1998, it was repackaged, renamed and re-released as Skynyrd's First: The Complete Muscle Shoals Album, being expanded to include eight additional tracks – four of which were previously unreleased and four which would be re-recorded for (Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd). As the renamed title suggests, the album was recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama. Originally intended to be their debut album it was shelved, making (Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd) their actual debut. The album was certified Gold on 9/8/78 and Platinum on 11/10/78 by the RIAA.

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Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991 Tour was a tour in support of the band's first post-plane crash album Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991. The tour took place in the United States, Canada and Europe.

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Bibliography