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File:Skynyrdpic7301 528.jpg


The southern band.

Formed by Jacksonville friends Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, Larry Junstrom, Gary Rossington and Bob Burns in 1964 as "The Noble Five". Renamed to "My Backyard" in 1965, to "Leonard Skinner" in 1970, and to "Lynyrd Skynyrd" in 1972. The band named itself after Leonard Skinner, a rather authoritarian teacher at their former high school, before later changing to the present spelling. Their first album, (pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd), came out in 1973 and forever cemented the song "Free Bird" in the rock lexicon. (Yes, whenever you hear someone shout "Play Free Bird!", you know who to blame).

Although never a chart-topper (their biggest hit, "Sweet Home Alabama", only charted #8 on Billboard), Skynyrd was beloved by many rock fans, especially in the South, where they were taken as a counter to the "protest bands" that popped up in the '60s; indeed, "Sweet Home Alabama" took some shots at Neil Young for a couple of his protest songs (despite Neil Young and Ronnie Van Zant being friends in real life).

Then in 1977, the band was involved in a plane crash that killed Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines (who was featured on their just-released album), his sister Cassie (a member of the band's backup singers, The Honkettes), and several members of the production staff, and bassist Leon Wilkeson would need at least two years of physical therapy to recover. The band disbanded after that, to reform 10 years later with Ronnie's younger brother Johnny and a rotating cast of new blood. Of the original members, only Rossington remains; Van Zant and Collins are deceased, Larry Junstrom is the Bassist for .38 Special (led by Ronnie's other brother Donnie), and Bob Burns quit after being overwhelmed by road life.


This band provides examples of:

  • Answer Song: "Sweet Home Alabama" is a Take That on Neil Young's 1970 Protest Song "Southern Man," which criticized the rampant racism in the American South at the time. The song defends the South, directly calling out "Mr. Young" and dismissing his criticism. Young, being a friend of Ronnie Van Zant, wasn't offended by the song and has even performed it on occasion.
  • Ballad of X: "Ballad of Curtis Loew"
  • Epic Rocking: You know what I'm talking about!
    • "Tuesday's Gone" qualifies here too.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Noted on the title of their debut album. In full, it is Lynyrd Skynyrd (pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd).
  • No One Could Survive That: The plane crash. The litany of injuries the surviving band members suffered, along with the utter devastation of the crash itself, makes a lot of people wonder how in the hell those who survived managed to do so.
    • Fearless Fool: Not sure if this is the trope that applies for this case, but reportedly, Ronnie died in the crash because he wasn't too keen on wearing seatbelts, so he decided to sit in the middle of the plane's aisle.
  • Song Style Shift: "Free Bird" shifts from a mournful Southern Rock ballad to pure Guitar Attack rock.
  • Sweet Home Alabama: Currently the Trope Namer, but the band is the embodiment of the South.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz
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