As I was writing my Jimmy Page post today… I noticed the date and knew I had to add this.
It’s been 45 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.
I believe that if the crash had not happened they would have moved into the most successful stretch of their career. They were leaving the “southern rock” label behind and into one of the top rock bands in the world.
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 the 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.