7 Standout Moments Of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Career

7 Standout Moments Of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Career | I Love Classic Rock Videos

When a roundup of Southern rock bands is in order, one can be guaranteed of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s appearance at the top of the ranks. Starting as highschool friends who aspired to be rockstars, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s meteoric rise to fame was unstoppable. They became the hottest Southern act in the ’70s, and although it was cut short by tragedy, the legacy they left behind never faded. Here are key points in the impressive career of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Formation of The Band

Members Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington, and Bob Burns came together after being on rival teams of a baseball match and decided to jam together after Van Zant accidentally injured Burns with a ball hit. Allen Collins was soon invited into the lineup along with Larry Junstrom, where the band first took on the names My Backyard, The Noble Five, The One Percent, and finally Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1969. The name was taken from an Allan Sherman song and a reference to their strict PE teacher, Leonard Skinner.

Becoming a Local Phenomenon

One year later, the band became a well-known act in the locality of Jacksonville, Florida. Lynyrd Skynyrd was managed by Alan Walden till 1974, propagating their Southern rock gospel which they crafted from a mix of country, blues, and British rock. Lineup changes constituted the addition of Greg T. Walker (briefly replacing Junstrom), along with Rickey Medlocke and Billy Powell.

Peak Years 

1973 saw Skynyrd compete in the big leagues and banked on the success of their self-titled debut album. Ed King became part of the triple-guitar setup, which was instrumental in crafting the No.19 Billboard Hot 100 placer, “Free Bird”.

Neil Young Scuffle

The band’s second album, Second Helping, had Van Zant, King, Rossington, and Collins collaborate on songwriting. One cut of the album was “Sweet Home Alabama”, a response to Neil Young’s “Southern Man”. The two acts remained friends, however, with the said song being their only single to reach the top ten.

Discovering New Talents

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s interpersonal relationships began to progressively worsen, which led to the departure of Burns and Kings. This left the band with two guitarists, which made a great impact on their live shows. To add to the deficit, they hired The Honkettes, of which Cassie Gaines was a member. Gaines presented the prospect of her brother, Steve, and his ability to play guitar and write songs. After several jams, Steve Gaines was welcomed onboard.

That Smell’s Inspiration

“That Smell” was written by Van Zant and Collins as a cautionary tale of drug abuse that was going to spell disaster for them if left unchecked. Rossington admits that he is the “Prince Charming” the band sings about, who crashed his car into an oak tree while he was drunk.

Steve Gaines’ Success

Steve Gaines was able to capitalize on 1997’s Street Survivors, which showcased his abilities with his initial studio debut with the band. Even Van Zant was a fan of their newest member and shared songwriting and vocal duties with him on the songs “You Got That Right” and “I Know A Little”. He was even allowed to perform his own written song, “Ain’t No Good Life”, which was the only pre-crash song of the band that featured lead vocals other than Van Zant’s.