Did you know the reunited Lynyrd Skynyrd have released nearly twice as many studio albums as the original band before the tragic plane crash? It's easy to overlook this fact in light of the classic lineup's legacy: five albums in less than five years, and dozens of great songs. And as you'll see in the below list of Lynyrd Skynyrd Albums Ranked Worst to Best, those five LPs are still the ones we turn to first.

That doesn't mean the nine records the band has made since singer Johnny Van Zant stepped in for his late brother Ronnie – who died in the tragic 1977 accident that also claimed the lives of guitarist Steve Gaines, his backing vocalist sister, a road manager and two pilots – should be automatically discounted. There are moments of enlightenment to be found here and there.

But yes, for the most part, those five albums – starting with the 1973 debut, (Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd), and ending with 1977's Street Survivors, released just three days before the crash – are the ones to start with.

It's here that Lynyrd Skynyrd helped form the template that pretty much every southern rock band has followed since. The Allman Brothers Band may have gotten there first, but Skynyrd gave the music, and the South, a conscience. Ronnie Van Zant didn't shy away from the region's sins, often crashing into them head-first, looking for reason and possible salvation.

And he was just as introspective when it came to other sociopolitical issues, like gun control and drug abuse. That set him apart from his peers, as well as from his brother – who guided Skynyrd into more conventional, and conservative, territory when he joined the reformed group on its 1991 record. Our list of Lynyrd Skynyrd Albums Ranked Worst to Best shuffles through their knotted history and musical achievements.

You Think You Know Lynyrd Skynyrd?

More From Ultimate Classic Rock