Lynyrd Skynyrd Inducted Into Ultimate Classic Rock Hall of Fame
They were two of the ’70s biggest bands, but ultimately Aerosmith was no match for Lynyrd Skynyrd as the Southern rock legends stormed out to an insurmountable 67-to-33 percent win total in fan voting for the Ultimate Classic Rock Hall of Fame.
The often-star crossed band joins a group of previous inductees that includes the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Styx, the Doobie Brothers and Fleetwood Mac, among others. Skynyrd won showdowns against the Marshall Tucker Band and Montrose to advance to the finals.
Skynyrd had, of course, already established itself with a trio of early-’70s recordings that would eventually go platinum when one of rock’s most stunning tragedies decimated the group. Having just released ‘Street Survivors‘ in 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd was traveling from a show in Greenville, S.C., to another in Baton Rouge, La. when their plane reportedly ran out of fuel. As the pilots attempted to put the twin-engine Convair CV-300 craft down, it clipped the tops of a tree line in Gillsburg, Mississippi, and crashed. (In a weird coincidence, legend has it that Aerosmith had looked into renting the same plane earlier in the year, but passed.)
Singer Ronnie Van Zant (who had already voiced such now-legendary moments as ‘Free Bird,’ ‘Gimme Three Steps’ and ‘Sweet Home Alabama’) guitarist Steve Gaines, vocalist Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick and both pilots were killed. ‘Street Survivors,’ which had gone gold within days of its release, shot to platinum sales status almost instantly – though a gruesome original cover image that showed Lynyrd Skynyrd surrounded by flames was later replaced.
And that, for a time, seemed to be the end of things. After 10 years of pursuing projects like the Rossington-Collins Band and Vision, however, Lynyrd Skynyrd reformed in 1987. Classic-era members Gary Rossington, Billy Powell, Leon Wilkeson and Artimus Pyle were joined by Ed King (who had departed two years before the crash) and Ronnie Van Zant’s younger brother Johnny, who took over as frontman.
By then, though, Allen Collins had already been paralyzed in a car crash. He’d die in 1990. Tragedy has continued to haunt the group, unfortunately: Wilkeson passed in 2001, followed by Powell in 2009. Ean Evans, Wilkeson’s replacement, also passed in 2009. Pyle split with the band, too. Still, Rossington – the group’s last remaining original member these days – and Company have continued on, issuing 11 new albums since their reformation, including 2012’s ‘Last of a Dyin’ Breed.’ And the late-period accolades have likewise continued to pour in, topped by this latest fan-voted honor.
We’re taking a month off from voting for the Ultimate Classic Rock Hall of Fame in order to focus on March Riff Madness. We’ve selected 32 of classic rock’s most iconic riffs and put them up against each other. You can read more about it and begin voting here. The UCR Hall of Fame will return in April.