Gary Robert Rossington is an American musician best known as a founder of southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, in which he is the sole constant member. He plays rhythm guitar, he was a founding member of the Rossington Collins Band along with Allen Collins. Rossington's mother recalled that he had a strong childhood interest in baseball and aspired as a child to one day play for the New York Yankees. Rossington recalled that he was a "good ball player" but upon hearing The Rolling Stones in his early teens he became interested in music and gave up on his baseball aspirations, it was Rossington's love of baseball that indirectly led to the formation of Lynyrd Skynyrd in the summer of 1964. He, Ronnie Van Zant, Bob Burns became acquainted while playing on rival Jacksonville baseball teams and the trio decided to jam together one afternoon after Burns was injured by a ball hit by Van Zant, they set up their equipment in the carport of Burns' parents' house and played The Rolling Stones' then-current hit "Time Is on My Side".
Liking what they heard, they decided to form a band. Naming themselves The Noble Five they changed the name of the band to The One Percent before settling on the name Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1969. Rossington grew up in a single parent household and says that early in their relationship, Van Zant became somewhat of a father figure to him, he credits Van Zant, three years his senior, with teaching him and his bandmates how to drive a car, as well as introducing them to "all that stuff you learn when you're 14, 15, 16". According to a New York Times article, Lacy Van Zant, patriarch of the Van Zant family, once went to West Jacksonville's Robert E. Lee High School to plead Rossington's case to school administrators after the fatherless Rossington was suspended for having long hair. Lacy Van Zant explained to the assistant principal that Rossington's father, who died shortly after Rossington was born, had died in the Army and that Rossington's mother needed the money Rossington made playing in his band.
Lacy Van Zant further explained that, like his own sons, they were working men and long hair was part of the job. It's not known if the elder Van Zant's efforts were successful, but Rossington dropped out of high school to focus on Lynyrd Skynyrd full-time. Rossington's instrument of choice was a 1959 Gibson Les Paul which he had purchased from a woman whose boyfriend had left her and left behind his guitar, he named it "Berniece" in honor of his mother. Rossington played lead guitar on "Tuesday's Gone" and the slide guitar for "Free Bird". Along with Collins, Rossington provided the guitar work for "Simple Man." On Labor Day weekend in 1976, Rossington and fellow Skynyrd guitarist Allen Collins were both involved in separate auto accidents in their hometown of Jacksonville. Rossington had just bought a new Ford Torino and hit an oak tree while under the influence of alcohol and other drugs; the band was forced to postpone a tour scheduled to begin a few days and Rossington was fined $5000 for the delay his actions caused to the band's schedule.
The song "That Smell", written by Van Zant and Collins, was based on the wreck and Rossington's state of influence from drugs and alcohol that caused it. Rossington was one of twenty passengers who survived the infamous October 20, 1977, plane crash near Gillsburg, that claimed the lives of Lynyrd Skynyrd members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, three others; as the passengers braced for impact, Rossington recalls hearing what sounded like hundreds of baseball bats hitting the plane's fuselage as it began striking trees. The sound got louder until Rossington was knocked unconscious. Days Rossington was informed in hospital by his mother that Van Zant and the others had been killed. Despite breaking both arms, legs and ankles, as well as his pelvis, Rossington recovered from his injuries and play on stage again. Though in time Rossington recovered from the severe injuries sustained in the crash, he battled serious drug addiction throughout the next several years the result of his heavy dependence on pain medication taken during his recovery from the plane crash.
Rossington co-founded the Rossington Collins Band with Collins in 1980. The band disbanded in 1982 after the death of Collins' wife, Kathy. Along with his wife, Dale Krantz-Rossington, he formed The Rossington Band, which released two albums in 1986 and 1988, respectively; as of 2018, Rossington still plays in Lynyrd Skynyrd and with the death of keyboardist Billy Powell, is the last remaining original member. Rossington and Dale Krantz-Rossington have two daughters. Rossington suffered a heart attack on October 8, 2015, after which two Lynyrd Skynyrd concerts had to be cancelled. 1977 Mississippi CV-240 crash Gary Rossington at AllMusic Gary Rossington on IMDb
Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1964 by Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Larry Junstrom and Bob Burns. It is best known for popularizing the Southern rock genre during the 1970s. Called My Backyard, the band was known by names such as The Noble Five and One Percent, before deciding on "Lynyrd Skynyrd" in 1969; the band gained worldwide recognition for its live performances and signature songs "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Free Bird". Van Zant, along with guitarist Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines, were killed in an airplane crash on October 20, 1977, putting an abrupt end to the 1970s era of the band; the band re-formed in 1987 for a reunion tour with Ronnie's brother, Johnny Van Zant, as its lead vocalist. Lynyrd Skynyrd continues to tour and record with co-founder Gary Rossington, Johnny Van Zant, Rickey Medlocke, who first wrote and recorded with the band from 1971 to 1972 before his return in 1996. Artimus Pyle remains active in music, but no longer records with the band.
Michael Cartellone has recorded and toured with the band since 1999. Lynyrd Skynyrd has sold 28 million records in the United States, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 13, 2006. In January 2018, Lynyrd Skynyrd announced their farewell tour, are working on a final studio album. In Jacksonville, Florida during the summer of 1964, Ronnie Van Zant, Bob Burns, Gary Rossington became acquainted while playing on rival baseball teams; the trio decided to jam together one afternoon. They set up their equipment in the carport of Burns' parents' house and played The Rolling Stones' then-current hit "Time Is on My Side". Liking what they heard, they decided to form a band, they soon approached guitarist Allen Collins to join the band, though Collins fled on his bicycle and hid in a tree at the sight of Van Zant pulling into his driveway. Collins was soon convinced that Van Zant meant he agreed to join the fledgling band. Bassist Larry Junstrom soon rounded out the lineup and the band settled on the name My Backyard changed to The Noble Five before becoming The One Percent by 1968.
Still known as The One Percent in 1969, Van Zant sought a new name after growing tired of taunts from audiences that the band had "1% talent". At Burns' suggestion, the group settled on Leonard Skinnerd, a mocking tribute to P. E. teacher Leonard Skinner at Robert E. Lee High School. Skinner was notorious for enforcing the school's policy against boys having long hair. Rossington dropped out of school; the more distinctive spelling "Lynyrd Skynyrd" was being used at least as early as 1970. Despite their high school acrimony, the band developed a friendlier relationship with Skinner in years, invited him to introduce them at a concert in the Jacksonville Memorial Coliseum. Skinner allowed the band to use a photo of his Leonard Skinner Realty sign for the inside of their third album. By 1970, Lynyrd Skynyrd had become a top band in Jacksonville, headlining at some local concerts, opening for several national acts. Pat Armstrong, a Jacksonville native and partner in Macon, Georgia-based Hustlers Inc. with Phil Walden's younger brother, Alan Walden, became the band's managers.
Armstrong left Hustlers shortly thereafter to start his own agency. Walden stayed with the band until 1974; the band continued to perform throughout the South in the early 1970s, further developing their hard-driving blues rock sound and image, experimenting with recording their sound in a studio. Skynyrd crafted this distinctively "southern" sound through a creative blend of country, a slight British rock influence. During this time, the band experienced some lineup changes for the first time. Junstrom left and was replaced by Greg T. Walker on bass. At that time, Rickey Medlocke joined as a second drummer and occasional second vocalist to help fortify Burns' sound on the drums. Medlocke grew up with the founding members of Lynyrd Skynyrd and his grandfather Shorty Medlocke was an influence in the writing of "The Ballad of Curtis Loew"; some versions of the band's history state Burns left the band during this time, although other versions state that Burns played with the band continuously through 1974.
The band played some shows with both Medlocke, using a dual-drummer approach. In 1971, they made some recordings at the famous Muscle Shoals Sound Studio with Walker and Medlocke serving as the rhythm section, but without the participation of Burns. Medlocke and Walker left the band to play with Blackfoot; when Lynyrd Skynyrd made a second round of Muscle Shoals recordings in 1972, Burns was once again featured on drums along with new bassist, Leon Wilkeson. Medlocke and Walker did not appear on any album until the 1978 release of First and... Last, which compiled the early Muscle Shoals sessions. In 1972, roadie Billy Powell became the band's keyboardist after Ronnie Van Zant heard him playing his rendition of Freebird. In 1972, the band was discovered by musician 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, to be distributed and supported by MCA Records, produced their first album.
Wilkeson, citing nervousness about fame, temporarily left the band during the early recording sessions for the album, only playing on two tracks. He
Sweet Home Alabama
"Sweet Home Alabama" is a song by Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd that first appeared in 1974 on their second album, Second Helping. It reached number 8 on the US chart in 1974 and was the band's second hit single; the song was written in reply to "Southern Man" and "Alabama" by Neil Young. None of the three writers of the song were from Alabama. In an interview with Garden & Gun, Rossington explained the writing process. "I had this little riff," he said. "It’s the little picking part and I kept playing it over and over when we were waiting on everyone to arrive for rehearsal. Ronnie and I were sitting there, he kept saying,'play that again'. Ronnie wrote the lyrics and Ed and I wrote the music.""Sweet Home Alabama" was a major chart hit for a band whose previous singles had "lazily sauntered out into release with no particular intent". The hit led to two TV rock show offers. In addition to the original appearance on Second Helping, the song has appeared on numerous Lynyrd Skynyrd collections and live albums.
"Sweet Home Alabama" was written as an answer to two songs by Neil Young, "Southern Man" and "Alabama", which dealt with themes of racism and slavery in the American South. "We thought Neil was shooting all the ducks in order to kill one or two," said Ronnie Van Zant at the time. The following excerpt shows the Neil Young mention in the song: Well, I heard Mister Young sing about herWell, I heard ol' Neil put her downWell, I hope Neil Young will rememberA Southern man don't need him around anyhow In his 2012 autobiography Waging Heavy Peace, Young commented on his role in the song's creation, writing "My own song'Alabama' richly deserved the shot Lynyrd Skynyrd gave me with their great record. I don't like my words, they are accusatory and condescending, not thought out, too easy to misconstrue". Van Zant's other response was controversial, with references to the Governor of Alabama, George Wallace and the Watergate scandal: In Birmingham, they love the governor Now we all did what we could doNow Watergate does not bother meDoes your conscience bother you?
Tell the truth... Sweet home Alabama, oh, sweet home babyWhere the skies are so blue and the governor's true It has been pointed out that the choice of Birmingham in connection with the governor is significant for the controversy as "In 1963, the city was the site of massive civil rights activism, as thousands of demonstrators led by Martin Luther King, Jr. sought to desegregate downtown businesses... was the scene of some of the most violent moments of the Civil Rights Movement. Segregationist police chief Bull Connor unleashed attack dogs and high-pressure water cannons against peaceful marchers, including women and children. In 1975, Van Zant said: "The lyrics about the governor of Alabama were misunderstood; the general public didn't notice the words'Boo! Boo! Boo!' after that particular line, the media picked up only on the reference to the people loving the governor." "The line'We all did what we could do' is sort of ambiguous," Al Kooper notes. "'We tried to get Wallace out of there' is how I always thought of it."
Towards the end of the song, Van Zant adds "where the governor's true" to the chorus's "where the skies are so blue," a line rendered ironic by the previous booing of the governor. Journalist Al Swenson argues that the song is more complex than it is sometimes given credit for, suggesting that it only looks like an endorsement of Wallace. "Wallace and I have little in common," Van Zant himself said, "I don't like what he says about colored people."Music historians examining the juxtaposition of invoking Richard Nixon and Watergate after Wallace and Birmingham note that one reading of the lyrics is an "attack against the liberals who were so outraged at Nixon's conduct" while others interpret it regionally: "the band was speaking for the entire South, saying to northerners, we're not judging you as ordinary citizens for the failures of your leaders in Watergate. It can further be added that Ronnie Van Zant wore a Neil Young t-shirt at several occasions, for instance at the concert at Oakland Coliseum Stadium, California, on February 7, 1977 and on the Street Survivors LP cover.
One verse of the song includes the line, "Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers/And they've been known to pick a song or two." This refers to the town of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, a popular location for recording popular music because of the "sound" crafted by local recording studios and back-up musicians. "The Swampers" referred to in the lyrics are the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. These musicians, who crafted the "Muscle Shoals Sound", were inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1995 for a "Lifework Award for Non-Performing Achievement" and into the Musician's Hall Of Fame in 2008; the nickname "The Swampers" was given to the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section by producer Denny Cordell during a recording session by singer/songwriter Leon Russell, in reference to their'swampy' sound. Part of the reference comes from the 1971–1972 demo reels that Lynyrd Skynyrd had recorded in Muscle Shoals with Johnson as a producer/recording engineer. Johnson helped refine many of
Thomas Delmer "Artimus" Pyle is an American musician who played drums with Lynyrd Skynyrd from 1974 to 1977 and from 1987 to 1991. He and his Lynyrd Skynyrd bandmates were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. Pyle was born in Louisville, the son of homemaker Mildred "Midge" Pyle and Clarence "Del" Pyle, a construction superintendent, awarded a Purple Heart after being shot in the leg while serving with the U. S. Marines in the South Pacific during World War II. Both his parents had roots in the Jamestown, Tennessee area, he is a distant cousin of World War I hero Alvin York. Through his maternal grandmother, he can trace his ancestry to Claus Koger], a bailiff who lived in the German town of Weil am Rhein. Pyle had Marilyn. Known as Tommy throughout his childhood, Pyle graduated from Eastmoor High School in Columbus, Ohio in 1966, studied for a year at Tennessee Technological University where classmates dubbed him "Artimus" on account of his boyish face, he enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps in 1968.
He was named platoon and series honorman and promoted to private first class following completion of boot camp in San Diego. Eyeing a career in civil aviation, Pyle worked as an avionics mechanic at various military bases, including Millington and Beaufort, South Carolina rising to the rank of sergeant, he was honorably discharged in 1971, after his father was killed in a mid-air collision with a U. S. Air Force B-57 weather reconnaissance bomber over New Mexico. Pyle joined Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1974, after gigs in Spartanburg SC with a band he named Thickwood Lick. Artimus played alongside, replaced, original drummer Bob Burns, he made his recording debut in August of that year on "Saturday Night Special", which became the first single from the band's third album, Nuthin' Fancy. In addition to Nuthin' Fancy, Pyle played on the albums Gimme Back My Bullets, One More from the Road, Street Survivors, Southern by the Grace of God and Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991. Pyle was known as "the wild man of Southern rock" for his antics.
During one gig in New Jersey in 1977, he jumped into the crowd to quell a disturbance. The band's singer, Ronnie Van Zant, remarked, "We keep him in a cage and feed him raw meat, only let him out when it's time to play." During a gig in London, England, he was lowered to the stage by a trapeze rope while hallucinating on mescaline. Despite such stunts, Pyle was even-keeled compared to his raucous bandmates, spent much of his time trying to defuse chaos caused by excessive drug and alcohol intake, he survived the 1977 plane crash that killed Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, his sister Cassie Gaines, one of the background vocalists, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, the two pilots. Pyle suffered torn chest cartilage, but he and two other survivors managed to stumble several hundred yards through a creek and a freshly plowed field to a farmhouse to get help; the appearance of Pyle and his companions alarmed the farmer, Johnny Mote, who fired a warning shot over Pyle's head, according to Pyle.
The misunderstanding was cleared up after Pyle shouted that there had been a plane crash, the farmer helped him inside his house. About the same time, local rescuers, who had just completed a Civil Defense drill, converged on the scene and Pyle directed them to the crash site where the dead and the injured were located. On January 13, 1979, the surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd reunited for Charlie Daniels' fifth annual Volunteer Jam concert in Nashville, they played an instrumental version of "Free Bird". Bassist Leon Wilkeson watched from the wings. Pyle and several other bandmates worked with a short-lived trio called Alias on their album Contraband; the group consisted of Dorman Cogburn, a childhood friend of Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington. These collaborations set in motion the formation of the Rossington Collins Band, with all the survivors plus Dale Krantz on lead vocals and Barry Lee Harwood on guitar. Pyle was forced to drop out after breaking his leg in 21 places following a collision with a drunk driver.
Pyle was replaced by Derek Hess. In 1982, Pyle began recording and touring with the Artimus Pyle Band, including Darryl Otis Smith, John Boerstler, Steve Brewington, Steve Lockhart. A. P. B.'s albums include A. P. B. Nightcaller and Live from Planet Earth. Pyle took part in the Skynyrd Tribute tour and joined the reformed Lynyrd Skynyrd in recording Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991 before departing the band during a show in Toronto on August 2, 1991. In a radio interview with Rick Lewis and Michael Floorwax on The FOX in Denver, Colorado on the 20th anniversary of the crash, Pyle said, "I left the band in 1991 because there was a problem with drugs and alcohol and I felt as though we should have put all that stuff behind us years and years ago." Both Pyle and his predecessor, Bob Burns, performed with the current version of Lynyrd Skynyrd following the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. As a child, Pyle was introduced to country music stars such as Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Floyd Cramer, Eddy Arnold by listening to the radio when he stayed with his maternal grandparents in Tennessee.
He absorbed his father’s passion for Patti Page, Perry Como and Frank Sinatra. His favorite musical artists include Frank Zappa, Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, Japanese electronica pioneer Isao Tomita. Pyle learned his craft by listening to the radio and copying drummers such as Ringo Starr, Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa
Kenny Aronoff is an American drummer, the sideman for many bands both live and in the studio. He is most recognized as being the longtime drummer for John Mellencamp, with whom he worked from 1980 to 1996, he is known for his recorded drums and percussion with many recording artists. Aronoff grew up in Stockbridge, Massachusetts with his twin brother Jonathan, a clinical psychologist, he developed an interest in music at an early age and gravitated to the drums as an instrument as "drumming was one hundred percent energy". An athlete in high school, Aronoff was a natural, earning 3-letters playing lacrosse, ski team and soccer. After attending Berkshire Country Day, Aronoff went to music school for one year at the University of Massachusetts and spent four more years at the Indiana University School of Music as a performance major in classical music as well as spending a summer at the Aspen School of Music run by Juilliard School of Music, he spent one summer at Tanglewood in the Fellowship program, which at that time was managed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra where he worked with conductors Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Arthur Fiedler.
While studying at Indiana University from 1972 to 1976 Aronoff studied under timpanist George Gaber. He studied with Vic Firth and Arthur Press, both with The Boston Symphony Orchestra. After graduating in 1976 he was offered jobs with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and Quito Ecuador Symphony Orchestra but decided to move to the East Coast to study in Boston with Alan Dawson, a teacher from Berklee College of Music, with Gary Chester in New York where he began to concentrate on jazz and fusion music. During this time he decided to return to his rock and roll roots that started in 1964 with his first childhood band, The Alley Cats. In 1980 he won an audition with John Cougar and promptly joined the band which led to a career with Mellencamp recording 10 albums and touring with him over a 17-year period. Scott Ross, Maven Management, secured Kenny on the drums for his first number one single. In the mid-1980s, Aronoff developed a successful career as a studio musician, playing on hundreds of records as well as touring worldwide with many artists.
He filled in for Dave Mattacks on the second half of Richard Thompson's 1988 tour. In 1996, Aronoff recorded with Bob Seger and Melissa Etheridge, he toured with John Fogerty for 20 years. In 1998, he played. Aronoff started touring with Joe Cocker in 2000 and has been touring and recording records with BoDeans since 1988. In 1990, Aronoff recorded on Jon Bon Jovi's "Blaze of Glory" from the Western film Young Guns II, in 1993 on Meat Loaf's comeback record Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell, in 1994 on Cinderella's fourth album Still Climbing, he recorded with Celine Dion on Let's Talk About Love, released in 1997. Aronoff was an inaugural member of the Independent Music Awards' 2001 1st Annual IMA judging panel to support independent artists. In 2005, Aronoff began touring with roots rock band The BoDeans, he performed on their two-CD live set, Homebrewed: Live From the Pabst. Aronoff recorded on Avril Lavigne's 2004 hit single "My Happy Ending" and her 2007 CD The Best Damn Thing. Featured on the track "Everything Back But You".
He recorded both Michelle Branch records The Spirit Room and Hotel Paper and most on Brandon Flowers 2015 release The Desired Effect. In 2007 and 2008 Aronoff worked with John Fogerty, performing on his 2007 US and European tours and on his 2008 Australian tour. Aronoff is one of four rotating drummers in Daryl Hall's house band for his Live From Daryl's House webcast. On July 26, 2011, Aronoff reunited with members of Chickenfoot and toured with the band on the heels of their second album, temporarily filling in for Chad Smith, unable to participate on the tour due to commitments with The Red Hot Chili Peppers. In 2014, Aronoff was part of the Gregg Allman All My Friends concert. Aronoff has performed at the Kennedy Center Honors Ceremonies from 2008 to 2014 as well as two performances at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards with Ringo Starr and the Highway Men, he performed a tribute to The Beatles sharing the stage with the two remaining Beatle members Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney in "The Beatles: The Night That Changed America".
During that same show, he played drums for Stevie Wonder, David Grohl, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Joe Walsh, Keith Urban, John Mayer, Jeff Lynne, Pharrell Williams and Brad Paisley. In an interview, Aronoff told Starr, "You're the reason. You're the reason. You're the reason why I decided to be a musician!"As of November 2017, Aronoff is drumming for Rock and Roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis. He is the owner of Uncommon Studios L. A. located in Los Angeles. Aronoff's distinctive style has awarded him many endorsements and celebrity branding by several musical equipment companies including Tama Drums and hardware, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth drumsticks, Evans Drumheads, Meinl Percussion, Yamaha DTX electronic drums, Shure Microphones. Aronoff lives in Los Angeles California with his wife Georgina Anouska Aronoff. Aronoff's recording credits include: Kenny Aronoff official website 2012 Audio Interview with Kenny Aronoff from the Podcast "I'd Hit That" Kenny Aronoff Interview NAMM Oral History Library
(Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd)
Lynyrd Skynyrd is the debut album from American rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, released in 1973. The album features several of the band's most well-known songs, including "Gimme Three Steps," "Simple Man," "Tuesday's Gone" and "Free Bird," which launched the band to national stardom; the album was certified gold on December 18, 1974, platinum and double platinum on July 21, 1987, by the RIAA. The album peaked at 27 in the Billboard 200 in 1975. Most of the songs on the album had been in the band's live repertoire for some time; the band found a rural rehearsal space near Jacksonville which they nicknamed "Hell House" due to the long hours spent there jamming in the intense Florida heat, it was there that they composed and ran through the songs endlessly until they were perfected. Producer Al Kooper marveled at. Bassist Leon Wilkeson left the band a few months before the album's recording sessions.. Ex-Strawberry Alarm Clock guitarist Ed King had been impressed with the band after an earlier incarnation of Skynyrd had opened for Strawberry Alarm Clock in Florida circa 1970.
He told vocalist Ronnie Van Zant to keep him in mind if he needed a guitarist, Van Zant thought of him and he was given an invitation to replace Wilkeson as bassist. Once the recording sessions were wrapping up, Van Zant decided that King would better serve the band as a guitarist, he visited Wilkeson and convinced him to rejoin. Wilkeson returned to the band and King moved to lead guitar, giving the band what would become their trademark "Three Guitar Army" along with Allen Collins and Gary Rossington. Wilkeson was back in the band by the time the band shot the cover photo for the album, appears on the cover, as well as being acknowledged in the liner notes. Atlanta Rhythm Section drummer and friend of the band Robert Nix was requested by Van Zant and Al Kooper to play on the track "Tuesday's Gone"; as the band worked up "Simple Man" in rehearsal, producer Kooper expressed his feeling that the song was weak and should not be included on the album. The band could not change Kooper's mind. Van Zant escorted the producer outside to his car and ordered him to remain there until the song was recorded.
The band recorded the song on their own with the producer banned from the studio, it subsequently became one of Lynyrd Skynyrd's most well known tracks. American troops returning home from the Vietnam War by plane in the mid-1970s traveled on what became known as the Freebird Express, it was common for the song "Free Bird" to be played in their honour as they boarded the planes; the album was re-released in 2001 as an expanded version with bonus tracks, including the two B-sides to the original singles and three unreleased demos from the album sessions. Sales through 2014 were an estimated 2 million units internationally; the cover photograph was taken on Main Street in Jonesboro and shows, from left to right, Leon Wilkeson, Billy Powell, Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington, Bob Burns, Allen Collins and Ed King. The photo was the last in a long day of shooting for the album cover, Rossington vomited on the sidewalk seconds after it was taken. With Ed King's death on August 22, 2018, Rossington is the last surviving member of Lynyrd Skynyrd pictured in this photo.
Pronounced'Lĕh-'nérd'Skin-'nérd put the band on the rock-and-roll map. Upon its release, rock journalist Robert Christgau acknowledged the quality of the songs and gave the album an "A" rating while referring to Lynyrd Skynyrd as a "staunchly untranscendent band". Producer Al Kooper, a close friend of Pete Townshend's, secured the band a spot opening for The Who on their American tour, Lynyrd Skynyrd was subsequently exposed to much larger audiences than they'd seen before. In 2003 Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album number 403 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Sides one and two were combined as tracks 1–8 on CD reissues. Lynyrd SkynyrdRonnie Van Zant – lead vocals, lyrics Gary Rossington – lead guitar on "Tuesday's Gone," "Gimme Three Steps," "Things Goin' On" and "Poison Whiskey". Allen Collins – lead guitar on "I Ain't The One" and "Free Bird," rhythm guitar on all others Ed King – lead guitar on "Mississippi Kid," bass guitar on all tracks except "Mississippi Kid" and "Tuesday's Gone", guitar fills on "Tuesday's Gone", Mellotron on "Free Bird" Billy Powell – keyboards Bob Burns – drums except on "Tuesday's Gone" Additional personnelAl Kooper – bass and back-up harmony on "Tuesday's Gone," mandolin & bass drum on "Mississippi Kid," organ on "Simple Man," "Poison Whiskey" and "Free Bird" Robert Nix – drums on "Tuesday's Gone" Bobbye Hall – percussion on "Gimme Three Steps" and "Things Goin' On" Steve Katz – harmonica on "Mississippi Kid"TechnicalAl Kooper – Producer, Engineer Bobby Langford – Engineer Rodney Mills – Engineer Thomas Hill – Photography Michael Diehl – Design
Street Survivors is the fifth studio album by the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, released on October 17, 1977. The LP is the last Skynyrd album recorded by original members Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins, is the sole Skynyrd studio recording by guitarist Steve Gaines. Three days after the album's release, the band's chartered airplane crashed en route to Baton Rouge, killing the pilot, co-pilot, the group's assistant road-manager and three band members, injuring most who survived the crash; the album performed well on the charts, peaking at #5, as did the singles "What's Your Name" and "That Smell," the former a top-20 hit on the singles chart. The album was an instant success, it would go double platinum. The album was recorded twice, once with Tom Dowd at the helm at Criteria Studios in Florida, at Studio One in Doraville, Georgia five months later; the Doraville recording was used for the initial release of the album. In March 2008, the album was re-issued with these alternate versions of most of the songs.
Differences are minor on some songs, with the major difference being a much slower and extended earlier version of "That Smell." Included are two songs recorded for, but not included on the original album, "Georgia Peaches" and "Sweet Little Missy," with the latter being included twice, in demo and final form. Included is a version of "Honky Tonk Night Time Man," with Ronnie's alternate autobiographical vocal take, entitled "Jacksonville Kid,", believed to be the last vocal take he recorded in a studio; the song "One More Time" was added to the album after it was decided to drop one of the two tracks above. However, this song is the original recording from their 1971 Muscle Shoals demo. Hence it features Ed King, Greg Walker and Rickey Medlocke in place of Steve Gaines, Leon Wilkeson and Artimus Pyle. Street Survivors was a showcase for guitarist/vocalist Steve Gaines, who had joined the band just a year earlier on the recommendation of his sister Cassie. Publicly and Ronnie Van Zant marveled at the multiple talents of Skynyrd's newest member, claiming that the band would "all be in his shadow one day."
Gaines' contributions included his co-lead vocal with Van Zant on the co-written "You Got That Right" and the guitar boogie "I Know A Little," which Gaines had written before he joined Skynyrd. So confident was Skynyrd's leader of Gaines' abilities, that the album featured Gaines delivering his self-penned blues "Ain't No Good Life" - one of the few songs in the first incarnation Skynyrd catalog to feature a lead vocalist other than Van Zant; the album included the hit singles "What's Your Name" and the ominous "That Smell" - a cautionary tale about drug abuse that seemed to be aimed at fellow band members. On October 20, 1977, only three days after the release of Street Survivors, five shows into their most successful headlining tour to date, Lynyrd Skynyrd's chartered Convair CV-300 ran out of fuel near the end of their flight from Greenville, South Carolina, where they had just performed at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium, to LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Though the pilots attempted an emergency landing on a small airstrip, the plane crashed in a forest five miles northeast of Gillsburg, Mississippi.
Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, co-pilot William Gray, were killed on impact. The other band members, tour manager Ron Eckerman, road crew survived, but suffered serious injuries. Following the crash and the ensuing press, Street Survivors became the band's second platinum album and reached No. 5 on the U. S. album chart. The single "What's Your Name?" reached No. 13 on the single airplay charts in January 1978. The original cover sleeve for Street Survivors had featured a photograph of the band standing on a city street with all its buildings engulfed in flames, some near the center nearly obscuring Steve Gaines's face. After the plane crash, this cover became controversial. Out of respect for the deceased, MCA Records withdrew the original cover and replaced it with a similar image of the band against a simple black background, on the back cover of the original sleeve. Conspiracy theorists have long claimed that only those band members touched by flame in the photograph were killed in the crash, but this is not true.
Thirty years for the deluxe CD version of Street Survivors, the original "flames" cover was restored. All tracks were unreleased except where noted. Live tracks recorded August 1977 at the Selland Arena in Fresno, California. Lynyrd SkynyrdRonnie Van Zant – lead vocals Steve Gaines – guitar, backing vocals, lead vocal on "Ain't No Good Life", co-lead vocal on "You Got That Right" Allen Collins – guitar Gary Rossington – guitar Billy Powell – keyboards Leon Wilkeson – bass, backing vocals Artimus Pyle – drumsAdditional personnelThe Honkettes – backing vocals on "That Smell" and "One More Time" Ed King – guitar on "One More Time" Greg T. Walker – bass on "One More Time" Rickey Medlocke – drums, backing vocals on "One More Time" Tim Smith – backing vocals on "One More Time" Barry Lee Harwood – dobro on "Honky Tonk Night Time Man"