30 Enticing Facts About Lynyrd Skynyrd Every Fan Must Know

Lynyrd Skynyrd
(Photo : Portal Focka)

Lynyrd Skynyrd, one of the greatest rock bands in the music industry, had their career abruptly halted due to a plane crash, just after five studio albums and one live album. But, with their reformation in 1987 by the surviving members, the band took on a new path in their career. A monument in Magnolia, MS, 400 yards from the plane crash, was constructed in honor of the deceased members. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 13, 2006. Here are some really interesting facts about the Lynyrd Skynyrd with the current lineup of Gary Rossington, Rickey Medlocke, Johnny Van Zant, Michael Cartellone, Mark Matejka, Peter Keys, and Keith Christopher:

    Lynyrd Skynyrd @ Festival SWU / Paulínia"Lynyrd Skynyrd @ Festival SWU / Paulínia" by Portal Focka is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

  1.  Rolling Stone magazine ranked the Lynyrd Skynyrd band at No. 95 on their list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time" in the year 2004.
  2.  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.
  3.  But, unfortunately, they ran out of fuel and the pilots attempted an emergency landing before crashing in a heavily forested area five miles northeast of Gillsburg, Mississippi.
  4.  Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray, were killed on impact.
  5.  Collins, Rossington, Wilkeson, Powell, Pyle, and Hawkins, along with tour manager Ron Eckerman, and several road crew members suffered serious injuries.
  6.  In the summer of 1964, Ronnie Van Zant, Bob Burns, and Gary Rossington, who were playing on rival baseball teams, in Jacksonville, Florida, decided to jam together after Burns was injured by a ball hit by Van Zant.
  7.  The trio set up their equipment in the carport of Burns’ parents’ house and started playing the Rolling Stones’ hit song “Time Is on My Side.”
  8.  When they like what they played, the trio immediately decided to form a band and approached guitarist Allen Collins to join the band.
  9.  Initially, at the sight of Van Zant pulling into his driveway, Collins fled on his bicycle, and hid in a tree. But was soon convinced that Van Zant meant no harm and agreed to join the fledgling band.
  10.  The lineup was soon completed with bassist Larry Junstrom, and settled on the name My Backyard, before changing to The Noble Five. By 1968, they changed their name to The One Percent.
  11. Lynyrd Skynyrd @ Festival SWU / Paulínia"Lynyrd Skynyrd @ Festival SWU / Paulínia" by Portal Focka is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

  12.  But this name led to continuous taunts from audiences that the band had only “1% talent.” So in 1969, Van Zant sought a new name and at Burns’ suggestion, they settled on Leonard Skinnerd.
  13.  It was a part of a mocking tribute to P.E. teacher Leonard Skinner at Robert E. Lee High School, who was notorious for strictly enforcing the school's policy against boys having long hair. It was said that Rossington dropped out of school, after being tired of being hassled about his hair.
  14.  The band members, over the years developed friendlier relationship with Skinner and invited him to introduce them at a concert in the Jacksonville Memorial Coliseum.
  15.  Around 1970, a more distinctive spelling of Lynyrd Skynyrd was being used, and the band stuck on to this spelling since then. The band also became a top band in Jacksonville, and Pat Armstrong and Alan Walden became the band’s managers, until the management was turned over to Peter Rudge.
  16.  In the early 1970s, the band performed throughout the South, and developed their hard-driving blues rock sound and image, while also experimenting with recording their sound in a studio.
  17.  For the first time, the band experienced some lineup changes, as Junstrom left the band, with Rickey Medlocke joining as a second drummer and occasional second vocalist.
  18.  In some versions of the band’s history, it has been stated that Burns left the band for a brief period, although other versions claim him to have been always with the band.
  19.  The band 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 in 1972.
  20.  He signed them to his Sounds of the South label, distributed and supported by MCA Records. The first album was produced by the Sounds of the South label.
  21.  Around this time, Wilkeson temporarily left the band after playing on only two tracks, citing nervousness about fame. He rejoined the band at Van Zant’s invitation, and is pictured on the album cover.
  22. Lynyrd Skynyrd @ Festival SWU / Paulínia"Lynyrd Skynyrd @ Festival SWU / Paulínia" by Portal Focka is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

  23.  He was temporarily replaced by Strawberry Alarm Clock guitarist Ed King, who also contributed to the songwriting and did some guitar work on the album, apart from taking up Wilkeson’s bass part of the album.
  24.  However, with Wilkeson’s return, King decided to stay with the band, and stick solely to guitar, which allowed the band to replicate their famous three-guitar studio mix in live performances.
  25.  In January 1975, Burns’ suffered a mental breakdown during a European tour and left the band permanently, just as personal issues started taking their toll on the band members.
  26.  For their third album “Nuthin’ Fancy,” the band just took 17 days to record it, following which Kooper parted ways with the band. While the album fared well, it did not met the sales numbers of its predecessors.
  27.  During the “Nuthin’ Fancy” tour, Ed King abruptly left the band after a falling out with Van Zant. Collins and Rossington both had serious car accidents over Labor Day weekend in 1976.
  28.  The “Street Survivors” album of 1977 was kind of a showcase for guitarist/vocalist Steve Gaines, who had joined the band just a year earlier and was making his studio debut with them.
  29.  Lynyrd Skynyrd disbanded after the plane crash, and Rossington, Collins, Wilkeson and Powell formed the Rossington Collins Band. But in 1987, reunited for a full-scale tour with five major members – Gary Rossington, Billy Powell, Leon Wilkeson and Artimus Pyle, along with guitarist Ed King.
  30.  The band released its first post-reunion album in 1991, entitled “Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991,” with a second drummer Kurt Custer in the lineup. However, with the departure of Artimus Pyle, Custer became the sole drummer.
  31.  On March 19, 2019, Johnny Van Zant announced that the band has decided to go into the studio to record one last album after completing the tour with several songs ready or "in the can".
  32.  Rossington announced in an interview on January 8, 2020 that the band would no longer be touring, but will continue to play occasional live shows.
  33.  Lynyrd Skynyrd Net Worth: $5 Million

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