Forby Leonard Skinner is the man who inspired a southern-rock band to call itself Lynyrd Skynyrd. The gym teacher and high-school coach famously came down on Ronnie Van Zant and his friends for wearing their hair too long, although he later said that his alleged behavior was exaggerated. “They were good, talented, hard-working boys,” the late Skinner told the Florida Times Union. “They worked hard, lived hard and boozed hard.”
Marvin Lee Aday graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas in 1965. After a spell in college, he headed to L.A. to begin his music career and found success fairly quickly, although his signature album 'Bat Out of Hell' wouldn't be released until 1977. It featured hits like 'Paradise by the Dashboard Light' and 'Two Out of Three Ain't Bad.'
He has a little less hair these days, but Sting still has those blue, deep-set eyes that pull you in like a Venus fly trap. The Police singer and bassist grew up in Wallsend, along the northeastern coast of England. Born Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, people started calling him Sting because of a black and yellow sweater (which made him look like a giant bee) that he wore to his early shows.
The Prince of Darkness describes his childhood British village of Aston as a place without much color. "The only flowers we ever saw in Aston were on a coffin going to a cemetery," he told Esquire years ago. As as boy he enjoyed theater in school, but quit at age 15 and began working different trade jobs before doing six weeks in jail for burglary. Soon Ozzy Osbourne would help form Black Sabbath and live happily ever after.
'Ramble On' was the standout track of side two of 'Led Zeppelin II,' perched perfectly between 'Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)' and 'Moby Dick.' The track, which is No. 7 on our list of the Top 50 Led Zeppelin Songs, was a study in musical style shifts, moving from the contemplative, almost jazzy verses Robert Plant provided into the hard-hitting chorus where the full band kicked in with force and Plant's powerful voice was on display.
Like 'Free Bird' or 'Iron Man' or 'You Really Got Me,' Led Zeppelin's riff-tastic anthem 'Stairway to Heaven,' No. 3 on our countdown of the Top 50 Led Zeppelin Songs, is so ingrained in the DNA of rock music that, ironically, it's often overlooked. We've heard these songs so many times in so many formats for so many years, they've become cliches and punchlines -- the kind of song you yell out for during a crappy band's encore when you're trying to snag a cheap laugh. 'Stairway to Heaven' isn't just a great rock song; it's the great rock song -- it can't be over-played if it deserves to be.
The first sound you hear on Led Zeppelin's fourth album, which begins the No. 4 song on our list of the Top 50 Led Zeppelin Songs, comes from Jimmy Page's guitar prepping for action. Distorted and multitracked, Page's Les Paul takes tentative steps at first, like it's not quite sure what's coming next. It's a beguiling start to Led Zeppelin's best, most popular and, at the time, most assured album.