So, last Sunday, at my son’s Little League game, one of his (10 yr old) teammates announced that he had seen Lynyrd Skynyrd in concert the night before. I’ve seen them too! But it was 35 years ago. Yep, 3 ½ decades …. That’s depressing.
I actually saw Skynyrd twice in 1976: once in the spring and once in the fall, bookending the recording and release of their iconic live album. Of course, there’s little resemblance between what is now touring as Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the band I saw back then…. Gary Rossington (guitar) is the only surviving member, and he’s pushing 60. And those are “rock n Roll” years, kinda like “dog years”….
Now, I actually have most of the albums put out by the post-crash Skynyrd (along with everything pre-crash). And some of the new stuff is pretty decent. But they quit “being” Lynyrd Skynyrd back in October 1977, and with each departure has less and less validity to using the name. I actually saw the survivors touring as The Rossington Collins Band back in 1980 or so. But I imagine it’s a lot easier to make a living using the famous name. That’s show-biz, after all.
The Summer 1976 lineup: Ronnie Van Zant (vocals - d. 1977), Steve Gaines (guitar - d.1977), Allen Collins (guitar – d.1989), Gary Rossington (guitar – still kicking), Leon Wilkeson (bass – d,2001), Billy Powell (piano – d.2009), Artimus Pyle (drums – alive, but out of the spotlight).