Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute by Jacquelyn Cooper & Pat Adams at www.tennesseeconcerts.com
Search this website

Website by Pat Adams. pat@tennesseeconcerts.com
Lynyrd Skynyrd's chartered Convair 240
ran out of fuel near the end of their flight
from Greenville, South Carolina, where
they had just performed at the Greenville
Memorial Auditorium, to LSU in Baton
Rouge, Louisiana. Though the pilots
attempted an emergency landing on a
small airstrip, the plane crashed in a
forest in Gillsburg, Mississippi.[14]
Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie
Gaines, assistant road manager Dean
Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-
pilot William Gray were all killed on
impact; the other bandmembers
suffered serious injuries.

Following the crash and the ensuing
press, Street Survivors became the
band's second platinum album and
reached #5 on the U.S. album chart. The
single "What's Your Name" reached #13
on the single airplay charts in January

The original cover sleeve for Street
Survivors had featured a photograph of
the band, particularly Steve Gaines,
engulfed in flames. Out of respect for the
deceased (and at the request of Teresa
Gaines, Steve's widow), MCA Records
withdrew the original cover and replaced
it with a similar image of the band
against a simple black background .[15]
Thirty years later, for the deluxe CD
version of Street Survivors, the original
"flames" cover was restored.

Lynyrd Skynyrd disbanded after the
tragedy, reuniting just once to perform
an instrumental version of "Free Bird" at
Charlie Daniels' Volunteer Jam V in
January 1979. Collins, Rossington,
Powell and Pyle performed the song
with Charlie Daniels and members of
his band. Leon Wilkeson, who was still
undergoing physical therapy for his
badly broken left arm, was in
attendance, along with Judy Van Zant,
Teresa Gaines, JoJo Billingsley and
Leslie Hawkins.

[edit] Hiatus (1977–1987)Rossington,
Collins, Wilkeson and Powell formed
The Rossington-Collins Band, which
released two albums between 1980 and
1982. Deliberately avoiding
comparisons with Ronnie Van Zant as
well as suggestions that this band was
Lynyrd Skynyrd reborn, Rossington and
Collins chose a woman, Dale Krantz, as
lead vocalist. However, as an
acknowledgment of their past, the
band's concert encore would always be
an instrumental version of "Free Bird".
Rossington and Collins eventually had a
falling out over the affections of Dale
Krantz, whom Rossington married and
with whom he formed the Rossington
Band, which released two albums in the
late 1980s and opened for the Lynyrd
Skynyrd Tribute Tour in 1987–1988.

The other former members of Lynyrd
Skynyrd continued to make music during
the hiatus era. Billy Powell played
keyboards in a Christian Rock band
named Vision, touring with established
Christian rocker Mylon LeFevre (who,
like Skynyrd, had once opened for The
Who). During Vision concerts, Powell's
trademark keyboard talent was often
spotlighted and he spoke about his
conversion to Christianity after the near-
fatal plane crash. Pyle formed The
Artimus Pyle Band in 1982, which
occasionally featured former Honkettes
JoJo Billingsley and Leslie Hawkins.

In 1980, Allen Collins's wife Kathy died
of a massive hemorrhage while
miscarrying their third child. He formed
the Allen Collins Band in 1983 from the
remnants of the Rossington-Collins
Band, releasing one tepidly-received
album, but many around him believed
that the guitarist's heart just wasn't in it
anymore. Most point to his wife's death
as the moment that Collins' life began to
spin out of control; he spent several
years bingeing on drugs and alcohol. In
1986, Collins crashed his car while
driving drunk near his home in
Jacksonville, killing his girlfriend and
leaving him permanently paralyzed from
the chest down. Collins eventually pled
no contest to DUI manslaughter, but
was not given a prison sentence since
his injuries made it obvious that he
would never drive or be a danger to
society again.
Our Lynyrd Skynyrd
Tribute Pages