Blues Rock

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Lynyrd Skynyrd
United States

Years: 1964 - present
Styles: Blues Rock, Hard Rock, Southern Rock


Ronnie Van Zant - Lead vocals, Rhythm guitar (in band: 1964 - 1977)
Allen Collins - Guitar, Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar (in band: 1964 – 1977; 1979)
Gary Rossington - Acoustic guitar , Guitar, Lead guitar, Resonator Guitar [Dobro], Rhythm guitar, Slide guitar (in band: 1964 – present)


Debbie Davis - Backing vocals
Carol Chase - Backing vocals
Larry Junstrom - Bass Guitar (in band: 1966 – 1970)
Bob Burns - Drums (in band: 1966 – 1971; 1972 – 1974; 2006)
Greg T. Walker - Bass Guitar (in band: 1971 - 1972)
Rickey Medlocke - Acoustic guitar , Backing vocals, Drums, Guitar, Lead guitar, Mandolin, Rhythm guitar, Slide guitar, Vocals (in band: 1971 – 1972; 1996 – present)
Ed King - Acoustic guitar , Backing vocals, Bass Guitar, Guitar, Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar, Slide guitar (in band: 1972 – 1975; 1987 – 1996; 2006)
Leon Wilkeson - Acoustic bass guitar, Backing vocals, Bass Guitar (in band: 1972; 1973 – 1977; 1987 – 2001)
Billy Powell - Hammond organ, Keyboards, Piano, Synthesizer (in band: 1973 – 1977; 1979; 1987 – 2009)
Artimus Pyle - Drums, Percussion (in band: 1974 – 1977; 1979; 1987 – 1991; 2006)
Steve Gaines - Backing vocals, Guitar, Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar (in band: 1976–1977)
Randall Hall - Backing vocals, Guitar, Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar (in band: 1987 - 1993)
Johnny Van Zant - Lead vocals (in band: 1987 - present)
Dale Krantz Rossington - Backing vocals (in band: 1987 - present)
Kurt Custer - Drums, Percussion (in band: 1991 - 1994)
Mike Estes - Acoustic guitar , Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar (in band: 1994 - 1996)
Owen Hale - Drums, Percussion (in band: 1994 - 1998)
Hughie Thomasson - Acoustic guitar , Backing vocals, Guitar, Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar, Slide guitar (in band: 1996 – 2005)
Jeff McAllister - Drums (in band: 1998 - 1999)
Kenny Aronoff - Drums (in band: 1999)
Michael Cartellone - Drums, Percussion (in band: 1999 – present)
Mark Matejka - Backing vocals, Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar (in band: 2006 – present)
Robert Kearns - Backing vocals, Bass Guitar (in band: 2009 - 2012)
Peter Keys - Keyboards (in band: 2009 – present)
Johnny Colt - Backing vocals, Bass Guitar (in band: 2012 - present)
Ean Evans - Backing vocals, Bass Guitar (in band: Spring/Summer 2000 ; 2001 – 2009)

Biography Picture

   Lynyrd Skynyrd was the definitive southern rock band, fusing the overdriven power of blues rock with rebellious, Southern image and hard rock swinging. Skynyrd never relied on the jazz 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.[1]

    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, keyboardist Billy Powell and drummer Bob Burns and changed their name to Lynyrd Skynyrd.[2]

    Continually brought to task for having long hair by gym teacher, Leonard Skinner, Van Zant and co, packed in school at the earliest opportunity, spending up to sixteen hours a day honing the sound of the band they’d eventually Lynyrd Skynyrd after their schoolhouse nemesis (name slightly changed to protect themselves from enforced circuit training.[3]

     In 1972 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. 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. The self-titled album with the subtitle "Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd" featured the hit song "Free Bird", which received national airplay, eventually reaching No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.[4]

     On their 1974 follow-up, "Second Helping", the band successfully avoided any sophomore slump, with King, Collins and Rossington all collaborating with Van Zant on the songwriting. The album was the band's breakthrough hit, and featured their most popular, "Sweet Home Alabama" (#8 on the charts in August 1974). The 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 inSedalia, Missouri.[4] Picture

     In January 1975, Burns left the band and was replaced by Kentucky native Artimus Pyle on drums. Lynyrd Skynyrd's third album, "Nuthin' Fancy", was released the same year. This album was recorded in 17 days.  In January 1976, backup singers Leslie HawkinsCassie Gaines and JoJo Billingsley (collectively known as The Honkettes) were added to the band, although they were not considered official members.[4]

     Lynyrd Skynyrd's fourth album "Gimme Back My Bullets" was released in the new year, 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, the solution was closer than they realized.[4]

    Soon after joining Skynyrd, Cassie Gaines began touting the guitar and songwriting prowess of her younger brother, Steve. 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. 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.[4]

    On October 20, en route Baton Rouge, the aircraft carrying band and crew plummeted from the sky after booth its engines failed. Van Zant was killed on impact, as were Steve and Cassie Gaines, and assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick. The remaining passengers were all seriously injured and the details of the crash were horrific, the effects of the tragedy stillresonating to this day.[3]

    The remaining members decided to disband Lynyrd Skynyrd, even although “Street Survivors” had become their biggest selling album ever, the remains of ‘Skynyrd forming the Rossington-Collins Band, who released two forgettable albums at the turn of the decade.[3]

    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. The reconstituted Lynyrd Skynyrd has gone through a large number of lineup changes and continues to record and tour today.[4]

    On November 28, 2005, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced that Lynyrd Skynyrd would be inducted alongside Black SabbathBlondieMiles Davis, and the Sex Pistols. 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 ZantAllen CollinsGary Rossington, Ed KingSteve GainesBilly PowellLeon WilkesonBob Burns, and Artimus Pyle.[4]

1.All Music Guide to Rock. The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop and Soul. 3rd Edition 2002. Edited by Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Published by Backbeat Books, page 681 - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
2. Source:
3.The Great Rock Discography - Martin C.Strong, Four Edition, by Canongate Publishing, Ltd. Edinburgh,  p. 484
4. Source:


(Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd) (Aug 13, 1973)
Second Helping (Apr 15, 1974)
Nuthin' Fancy (Mar 24, 1975)
Gimme Back My Bullets (Feb 2, 1976)
Street Survivors (Oct 17, 1977)
1991 (Jun 11, 1991)
The Last Rebel (Feb 16, 1993)
Endangered Species (Aug 9, 1994)
Twenty (Apr 29, 1997)
Edge of Forever (Aug 10, 1999)
Christmas Time Again (Sep 12, 2000)
Vicious Cycle (May 20, 2003)
God & Guns (Sep 29, 2009)
Last of a Dyin' Breed (Aug 21, 2012)

Singles & EPs

Need All My Friends (1968)
I've Been Your Fool (1971)
Gimme Three Steps / Mr. Banker (1973)
Don't Ask Me No Questions (Apr, 1974)
Sweet Home Alabama (Jun 24, 1974)
Free Bird (Nov, 1974)
Saturday Night Special (May 19, 1975)
Gimme Three Steps (1976)
Double Trouble (Mar, 1976)
Gimme Back My Bullets (May, 1976)
Free Bird / Searching (Nov, 1976)
What's Your Name (Nov, 1977)
You Got That Right (Mar, 1978)
Down South Jukin' (1978)
When You Got Good Friends (1987)
Call Me The Breeze (1991)

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