Lynyrd Skynyrd

Lynyrd Skynyrd Headshot

Band

Along with the Allman Brothers Band, Florida's Lynyrd Skynyrd best epitomized the Southern rock aesthetic with anthemic, country-blues-based songs like "Free Bird," "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Southern Man." The band began in 1964, when teenaged friends Ronnie Van Zandt, Bob Burns, Allen Collins and Garry Rossington formed My Backyard, which drew on the British Invasion for its sound. The group underwent a number of name changes, including The Noble Five and One Percent, until settling on Leonard Skinner, a name borrowed from their high school physical education teacher, who was notorious for hassling students with long hair.

Lineup changes, included roadie-turned-keyboardist Billy Powell and Leon Wilkeson on bass, and a final name change to the more phonetic Lynyrd Skynyrd, preceded the band's apprenticeship on the Southern club circuit, where it earned a following for its mix of country, blues and rock. Al Kooper signed Skynyrd to his label, Sounds of the South, which was distributed by MCA, and produced their self-titled debut LP, which borne the subtitle Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd (1973); the addition of former Strawberry Alarm Clock guitarist Ed King formed the backbone of the band's signature three-guitar sound, as displayed on the album's Top 20 lead single, "Free Bird," and helped to deliver the band its first gold record.

Though the lineup would continue to change over the next few years - King and Burns would be replaced by Steve Gaines and Artimus Pyle, respectively - what remained a constant for Skynyrd was the quality of Van Zandt's lyrics on hits like "Sweet Home Alabama," "Southern Man" and "That Smell," which skillfully maintained a balance between hard-partying declarations and rueful self-reflection. By the midpoint of the decade, the band served as the vanguard for the Southern rock scene, and seemed poised for even greater heights before they chartered a private flight to Baton Rouge, Louisiana on October 20, 1977.

The plane never reached its destination, crashing in a wooded area outside of Gillsburg, Mississippi and killing Van Zandt, Steve Gaines and his sister, backup singer Cassie Gaines and several crewmembers and leaving their bandmates in serious condition. The surviving members took a lengthy hiatus before splintering into various solo acts until 1987, when Rossington, Powell, Wilkenson and Pyle reformed Skynyrd with Van Zandt's brother, Johnny, in place as singer and chief songwriter. That iteration returned to recording with Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991, and would tour and release new material well into the 21st century.

Several of these broke into the Top 40 on Billboard albums chart, including 2012's Last of a Dyin' Breed. By that point, Rossington was the only original member of Skynyrd still playing in the band: Collins, Wilkenson, Powell and Burns would all succumb to various causes, and were replaced by a rotating all-star Southern/classic rock roster that included Ricky Medlocke of Blackfoot, Michael Cartellone (Damn Yankees), Hughie Thomasson (Outlaws), Mart Matejka (Hot Apple Pie) and Robert Kearns (Bottle Rockets). The surviving members, past and present, performed at Skynyrd's 2006 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Credits

CMA Fest

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2024

New Year's Eve Live: Nashville's Big Bash

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2023

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Celebrating 50 Years, Recorded Live at the Ryman

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2023

Decades: Lynrd Skynrd- Rock Fuel

Self
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2022

Circuito Sertanejo ao Vivo

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2022

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Live From Jacksonville

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2019

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Rock Case Studies

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2019

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Live in Atlantic City

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2018

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Live In Atlantic City

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2018

Volunteer Jam XX: A Tribute to Charlie Daniels

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2018

If I Leave Here Tomorrow: A Film About Lynyrd Skynyrd

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2018

Best of 2016: Carolina Rebellion

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2017

Rock the Troops

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2016

Carolina Rebellion

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2016

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Simple Man

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2015

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Sweet Home Alabama - Live At The Florida Theatre / 2015

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2015

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd and Second Helping Live

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2015

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Gone With the Wind

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2015

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Live From the Florida Theater

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2015

Sounds of the 70s

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2013

The Big Interview With Dan RatherStream

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2013

Stagecoach: California's Country Music Festival

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2013

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Last Of A Dyin' Breed

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2012

Lynyrd Skynyrd

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2011

The VoiceStream

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2011

Wolfgang's Vault Presents Day on the Green 1977

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2010

Lopez Tonight

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2009

The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien

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2009

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Still Unbroken

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2009

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Simple Life

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2009

New Year's Eve Live

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2008

Fashion Rocks

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2008

The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson

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2005

Soundstage

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2003

Music Mix USA

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1999

Die Harald Schmidt Show

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1995

Good Morning America

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News
1975

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Sweet Home Alabama

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1974