Lynyrd Skynyrd – 42 Years Ago Today

It’s been 42 years since Lynyrd Skynyrd’s plane crashed in a swamp in Gillsburg, Mississippi. The band had just released the album “Street Survivors” and it was probably their best well-rounded album. With new guitarist Steve Gaines, they were primed for commercial success but on October 20, 1977, they lost singer-songwriter Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines, and road manager Dean Kilpatrick. The plane crash also claimed the lives of pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray Jr.

A year earlier Steve Gaines joined the band and he was pushing them in directions they never had gone. Listening to “Street Survivors” you can hear his influence with songs I Never Dreamed and I Know A Little. Steve was a  super talented guitarist, songwriter, and singer and I have to wonder where his career would have gone.

On this tour, they were headlining and moving up in status after years of touring as mostly an opening band.

Below is a good Rolling Stone article on the crash. The song below that is “I Never Dreamed,” a song heavily influenced by Gaines.


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Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

9 thoughts on “Lynyrd Skynyrd – 42 Years Ago Today”

    1. They did headline some smaller venues but this was the first year of the major arenas. You would think with the strength of the first two albums they could have headlined larger venues. The did open up for the Who…and Queen. Queen and Lynyrd Skynyrd is an odd pairing.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I vaguely remember hearing about it when it actually happened, not just ‘knowing’ it happened thru time. Their music wasn’t played in my house and I don’t think I heard any of their stuff until I was a teenager and listened to friends’ albums. With the rise of classic rock stations (and the, now, gone oldies stations), I heard them so much, I grew weary of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and absolutely hated ‘Freebird’. Losing an iconic lead singer can blow apart a group. Most never recover. Nirvana is gone. INXS never recovered. Alice in Chains disappeared.

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    1. I knew them from a cousin I had… I hate the two songs you mention also. Their album songs are the ones I listened to like Ballad of Curtis Lowe and a few others…they were on the verge of breaking through big time… They probably would have been in Aerosmith’s league if they would have continued originally.


      1. And, therein lies another problem. If a band has limited material, what they did manage to produce can be over played if they become stars posthumously.

        I am quite fond of ‘Simple Man’. ‘Gimme Three Steps’ was funny the first 100 times I heard it. I liked ‘Saturday Night Special’ the first 100 times.

        Ronnie had a great voice that was simultaneously soulful & funny. Johnny couldn’t fill his shoes.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Gimme Back My Bullets I also liked…Their last album was really good and it was taking off when the crash happened.
        But yea they are really over played…well the songs you mentioned are… Now some like Tuesday Gone is really good…I haven’t heard that as much.


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