Talking about the plan crash that killed music
Yesterday was the 24th anniversary of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s tragic air crash in the swamps of Mississipi in October ‘77. The Convair CV-300, chartered to fly the band to Baton Rouge on the Gulf Of Mexico coast from Greenville, could not make the attempted landing on a narrow airstrip.
It went down in flames in forests of Gillsburg in the American Southeast. Frontman Ronnie Van Zant, lead guitarist Steve Gaines and his sister, Cassie Gaines, were among the six who died on impact.
Skynyrd’s third album, Street Survivors, had just been released two days before. It held a whole load of promise; it was the first time Steve Gaines would get to be part of an album, besides Ronnie Van Zant finally having assembled the band he’d wanted since their third album, Nuthin’ Fancy, tanked, and their erstwhile drummer and guitarist quit.
The expectation was rife, five shows into Skynyrd’s most anticipated and successful headlining tour yet, when it got fatally cut short after the Greenville gig. In fact, in November the same year, Lynyrd Skynyrd were slated to fulfill Ronnie Van Zant’s long-held dream of headlining Madison Square Garden in New York. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.
Former members Collins, Gary Rossington, Billy Powell and Artimus Pyle have figured in various permutations and combinations at different Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute shows ever since.
A serious effort at a reunion in the early ‘90s was scuttled by widows of Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines, who’d both remarried, but returned to invoke a post-air crash injunction that debarred any financial exploitation of the Lynyrd Skynyrd name. And that was that.
Without a doubt, the most popular song of theirs: