When you think of southern rock, the first thing that probably comes to mind is a band Lynyrd Skynyrd.
The legendary band, formed by Ronnie Van Zant, Bob Burns and Gary Rossington in Jacksonville, Florida, popularized the southern rock genre after the release of their 1973 debut album. (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd), when they landed a spot as opener for The Who.
That debut album contained songs that are still huge hits today – songs like “Simple Man”, “Gimme Three Steps” and of course “Free Bird”.
And her popularity only grew over the next few years, especially after her biggest hit “Sweet Home Alabama” was released on her second album. second aid.
By 1977 the band had released their fifth studio album, road survivor, and went on tour to promote it.
But just three weeks after the album’s release, tragedy struck.
Lynyrd Skynyrd played a show in Greenville, South Carolina on October 20, 1977, and then boarded a chartered plane to Baton Rouge the next day for a show at LSU.
It would be the band’s last flight in their Convair CV-240, which drummer Artimus Pyle would later say “looked like it belonged to the Clampett family”. The Beverly Hillbillies. At Baton Rouge, Lynyrd Skynyrd would transfer to a Learjet – one that would better reflect their status as one of the finest rock bands in the world.
En route to Louisiana, the plane ran out of fuel towards the end of the flight over Mississippi. The pilots attempted to reach McComb Airport but soon realized they would not make it and decided to attempt an emergency landing in an open field.
When the plane crashed, it clipped the tops of some trees and eventually crashed into a large tree and broke apart.
Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and his sister Cassie Gaines, who sang backing vocals for the band, were killed in the crash along with the band’s assistant road manager, pilot and co-pilot. The rest of the band survived but were seriously injured.
An NTSB investigation found that the plane’s pilots did not check the fuel tanks before departing Greenville, and that fuel gauges were known to malfunction on this type of aircraft.
The band eventually went on hiatus after the crash, only reuniting once in the next 10 years to play an instrumental version of “Free Bird” at Charlie Daniels’ 1979 Volunteer Jam in Nashville.
And the band’s label, MCA, would also retire the original Lynyrd Skynyrd cover art survivors of the road Album – which included a picture of the band bursting into flames – out of respect for the victims of the crash.
But in 1987 Lynyrd Skynyrd got back together, and Ronnie Van Zant’s younger brother Johnny joined five original members of the band who had survived the plane crash for a tribute tour. The reunited band decided to continue after the 1987 tribute tour, and in 1991 Lynyrd Skynyrd released their first studio album since the plane crash.
It’s impossible to overestimate the impact Lynyrd Skynyrd has had on southern rock music and even country music today. Ask your favorite country artist who inspired them, and I’ll bet Lynyrd Skynyrd would be on many of those lists – even though the band’s original career was tragically cut short 45 years ago on that day.
https://www.whiskeyriff.com/2022/10/20/on-this-date-the-plane-carrying-legendary-southern-rock-band-lynyrd-skynyrd-crashes-in-mississippi-in-1977/ On This Date: The Plane Carrying Legendary Southern Rock Band Lynyrd Skynyrd Crashes In Mississippi In 1977