The saga of Lynyrd Skynyrd has unfolded in an almost mythical series of ups and downs, from being in the vanguard of a musical movement to the tragic 1977 plane crash that claimed the lives of three band members.
lynyrd skynyrd crash site – Medlocke On Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Farewell Tour
Three lineups of Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1973 (top), 1977 (middle) and 2008 (bottom). Gaines was just the tonic Skynyrd needed. He provided Skynyrd with a dynamic boost, carrying live shows on the strenght of his effortless soloing strenght and eye-catching technique. Gaines virtually remade the band by adding its most versatile instumental voice ever. Though his greatest strenhgt was as a blues player, Gaines was also an awesome flat-picking stylist and knew enough jazz theory to apply some very modern concepts to what had become a fairly traditional approach to live arrangements.
Junstrom met original Lynyrd Skynyrd lead singer Ronnie Van Zandt when they were teenagers and helped found the band in 1964 along with Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, and Bob Burn. He played with Lynyrd Skynyrd until 1971 when he was replaced before the band released their first major album.
Some in the South still observe the Oct. 20, 1977, crash near Gillsburg, Miss., that killed Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and his sister, vocalist Cassie Gaines, as a day of regional mourning. The casualties were not limited to those killed in the wreckage. The surviving band members struggled with physical and psychological impacts that put the band on ice for nearly 10 years. In 1987, Lynyrd Skynyrd reunited with five of the surviving members of the pre-crash band, and with Johnny Van Zant—Ronnie’s little brother—as lead vocalist.
Six years later, Junstrom would join Van Zant’s younger brother Donnie with38 Special. He played on all 12 of the band’s studio albums before retiring from the group in 2014, following a hand injury.
With more than 30 million units sold during their career, the band that USA Today called the whiskey-soaked genre’s most popular and influential crew,” has become a cultural icon spanning five decades. With everlasting hits such as Simple Man,” Gimme Three Steps,” What’s Your Name,” Call Me The Breeze,” You Got that Right,” and more, Rolling Stone named Lynyrd Skynyrd one of its 100 Greatest Bands of All Time.
If there was any wonder why yet another song about the perils of heroin use, “The Needle And The Spoon,” appeared on Second Helping. VanZant eerie statement “I know, I know” toward the end indicates how personal an issue this must have really been. Collins offers his own observations on the subject with a vicious Claptonesque solo.
Larry Junstrom, a founding member of the rock bank Lynyrd Skynyrd and bassist for 38 Special, has died, his band confirmed on Facebook Sunday He was 70.
The bassist’s death was announced on Facebook by his former band 38 Special, which Junstrom joined after leaving Lynyrd Skynyrd and performed with for parts of four decades.
J.J. Cale wasn’t the only influence the band paid tribute to on Second Helping. On “Swamp Music” VanZant likens the bowling of a hound to the blues moans of Son House. His ultimate tribute, though, is reserved for “The Ballad Of Curtis Lowe,” a song about a black country store owner who used to redeem the deposit bottles the band often collected to support themselves. After they’d had their refreshments, a neighborhood bluesman would take out his guitar and play it for the boys, a gesture VanZant never forgot and finally found an appropriate response to.
On a suitable roll they released Gimme Back My Bullets in 1976 with producer Tom Dowd, an icon to the band, and effectively created a quasi-conceptual suite of Southern songs that hit home hard and still sound magic. All I Can Do Is Write About It” and Cry For the Bad Man” are amongst the more sophisticated songs in the Van Zant and Allen Collins trove and their second J.J. Cale cover, I Got the Same Old Blues”, fingers them as men of consummate taste. The bonus CD with extras is a wonderful thing too since it includes all the tracks they played for the BBC 2 Old Grey Whistle Test broadcast from November, 1975 – a mind blowing event if you happened to be in the audience for that one. Strangely his hasn’t yet gone Platinum or higher in the US which is a travesty considering many feel it to be a definitive moment in Southern blues.
Lynyrd Skynyrd died in October. 1977. These are just want to be’s. Only 1 true member left and not full time. Sorry but this is not Lynyrd Skynyrd. Bunch of nobodies riding on Ronnie’s shirt tale.
They are perhaps the quintessential southern rock band. For 45 years and through enough triumph and tragedy to last a lifetime, Lynyrd Skynyrd always remained true to their fans and to their roots. In 2018 the band embarked on their farewell tour and on November 7 Fathom Events will bring the legendary rockers to the big screen with the exclusive theatrical release of their farewell concert performance.
The original members of the group were 16-year-old Ronnie Van Zant, 13-year-old Bob Burns, 12-year-old Allen Collins, 12-year-old Gary Rossington and 15-year-old Larry Junstrom. All of the members were from Jacksonville except Junstrom who was from Pittsburgh, Penn. Just to clarify, Steve Gaines was not one of the original members in 1964.
There was, of course, no talk of giving up, but the devil-may-care attitude of previous albums was replaced by an admission of worldweariness. The VanZant who warned he would watch every nickel in “Workin’ For MCA” now confessed in “Roll Gypsy Roll” that he knew was making money had gone “up my nose,” a common phrase reffering to snorting cocaine. Touring was described as a grim job for a determoned gypsy rather than the lifeaffirming blast it had once seemed.
Lynyrd Skynyrd is a Southern rock band from Jacksonville, Florida Formed in 1964, the group originally included vocalist Ronnie Van Zant , guitarists Gary Rossington and Allen Collins , bassist Larry Junstrom and drummer Bob Burns The current lineup features Rossington, guitarist and vocalist Rickey Medlocke (from 1971 to 1972, and since 1996), lead vocalist Johnny Van Zant (since 1987), drummer Michael Cartellone (since 1999), guitarist Mark Matejka (since 2006), keyboardist Peter Keys (since 2009) and bassist Keith Christopher (since 2017). The band also tours with two backing vocalists, currently Dale Krantz-Rossington (since 1987) and Carol Chase (since 1996).
Over the years, Lynyrd Skynyrd has put out a number of albums. Some of the most popular albums include (Pronounced ‘Leh-‘nerd ‘Skin-‘nerd), Street Survivors, Nuthin’ Fancy, Gimme Back My Bullets and Second Helping.
Lynyrd Skynyrd, of course, did survive that crash and has a huge following today. The group re-formed a decade later, with Van Zant’s brother, Johnny, taking over lead vocals. They’ve put out nine studio albums since the crash and continue to be a big draw on the road.
Junstrom left the band in 1971 to be replaced by Leon Wilkeson prior to the release of Skynyrd’s debut album Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd and went on to join Donnie Van Zant in38 Special.
According to the outlet, Junstrom left the group before they recorded their debut album in 1973, titled Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd.” Leon Wilkeson would go on to handle bass during the height of the band’s fame.
For proof that Young and Skynyrd were fans of one another you need not look further than the t-shirts that the artists wore in concert and on their album covers. Van Zant wears a Neil Young shirt for the album Tonight’s The Night on the cover of Street Survivors, and he was known for wearing the shirt during concerts just to mess with any fans that took the rivalry too seriously.