Lynyrd Skynyrd......what happened to them? What was the lead singers name?
Just curious and I really like them.
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
On Thursday, October 20, 1977, just three days after the release of Street Survivors, and three dates into their most successful headlining tour to date, Lynyrd Skynyrd's chartered Convair 240 developed mechanical difficulties near the end of their flight from Greenville, South Carolina to LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Though the pilots attempted an emergency landing on a small airstrip, the plane ran out of fuel and crashed in a forest near McComb, Mississippi, just short of its goal. Singer/songwriter Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist/vocalist Steve Gaines, backing vocalist Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray were all killed on impact. Other band members were injured, some seriously. Drummer Artimus Pyle crawled out of the plane wreckage with several broken ribs, but was ambulatory, as were road crew members Kenneth Peden Jr. and Mark Frank. The three injured men hiked some distance from the crash site, through swampy woods, and finally flagged down farmer Johnny Mote, who had come to investigate. Varying accounts have Mote either firing a warning shot into the air or actually shooting Pyle in the shoulder — no report is completely reliable. Pyle claimed in a February 2007 appearance on Howard Stern's Sirius radio program that Mote had shot him; Mote has always denied shooting the drummer. Video of a barechested Pyle at the 1979 Volunteer Jam does not show evidence of a gunshot wound.
Medical personnel arrived and began to ferry out the injured and the dead. Allen Collins suffered two cracked vertebrae in his neck, and both Collins and Leon Wilkeson nearly had arms amputated as a result of crash injuries. Wilkeson suffered severe internal injuries, including a punctured lung, and had most of his teeth knocked out. Gary Rossington broke both his arms and both his legs in the crash, and took many months to recuperate. Leslie Hawkins sustained a concussion, broke her neck in three places and had severe facial lacerations. Road crew member Steve Lawler suffered severe contusions and facial lacerations. Security manager Gene Odom was seriously burned on his arm and face and lost the sight in one eye as a result of an emergency flare on board the plane that was activated during the crash. Victims were taken to the hospital in McComb, Mississippi by ambulances and other vehicles. Keyboardist Billy Powell's nose was nearly torn off as he suffered severe facial lacerations, and he later caused a controversy by giving a lurid account of Cassie Gaines' final moments on a VH-1 Behind The Music special about the band, claiming that the backing singer's throat was cut from ear to ear and that she bled to death in his arms. Powell also claimed that Ronnie Van Zant's head had been smashed. Powell's version of events has been discounted by both Artimus Pyle and Judy Van Zant Jenness, who posted the autopsy reports on the band's website in early 1998 in order to set the record straight. Despite this faux pas, Powell has been on good terms with the remaining band members since the incident.
Notably, the third member of The Honkettes, JoJo Billingsley, was not on the plane and in fact was home tending to a family member's illness. She was planning to join the tour in Little Rock on October 23, three days after the crash. According to an interview in the book Freebirds, Billingsley had dreamed of the plane crash and begged Allen Collins by telephone not to continue using the Convair. On hearing of the accident, Billingsley was so shaken that some of her hair fell out.
The Convair 240 itself had been inspected by members of Aerosmith's flight crew for possible use in the early summer of 1977, but was rejected because it was felt that neither the plane nor the crew were up to standards. In an interview in the book Walk This Way, Aerosmith's assistant chief of flight operations Zunk Buker tells of seeing pilots McCreary and Gray trading a bottle of Jack Daniels back and forth while Buker and his father were inspecting the plane. Aerosmith's touring family was also relieved because the band, specifically Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, had been trying to pressure their management into renting that specific plane.
The official NTSB accident report reads, "The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of this accident was fuel exhaustion and total loss of power from both engines due to crew inattention to fuel supply. Contributing to the fuel exhaustion were inadequate flight planning and an engine malfunction of undetermined nature in the right engine which resulted in higher-than-normal fuel consumption." It was known that the right engine's magneto — a small power generator that provides spark and timing for the engine — had been malfunctioning (Powell, among others, spoke of seeing flames shooting out of the right engine on a trip just prior to the accident), and that pilots McCreary and Gray had intended to repair the damaged part when the traveling party arrived in Baton Rouge. It is possible that the damaged magneto fooled the pilots into creating an exceptionally rich fuel mixture, causing the Convair to run out of fuel. It was suggested on the VH-1 Behind The Music profile on Skynyrd that the pilots, panicking when the right engine failed, accidentally dumped the remaining fuel. Pyle maintains in the Howard Stern interview that the fuel gauge in the older model plane malfunctioned and the pilots had failed to manually check the tanks before taking off, although it is common practice in all but the largest transport-category aircraft to manually check fuel quantities to verify fuel gauge indications.
Lynyrd Skynyrd disbanded after the tragedy (although the surviving members, plus Judy Van Zant and Teresa Gaines, reunited to perform an instrumental version of "Free Bird" at Charlie Daniels' Volunteer Jam in January 1979). As a result of 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 of 1978.
MCA Records withdrew the original cover sleeve of Street Survivors and replaced it with a similar image of the band against a simple black background out of respect for the deceased....
took long enough to type this :P
- marianaLv 44 years ago
Always when i ask a question, even if it's the easiest one, they can't offer me a proper informed answer on this site. What happened to people who really make the effort to answer?
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- Anonymous1 decade ago
Ronnie Van Zant was the lead singer, and the band died in a plane crash in 1977.
- 1 decade ago
all i have got to say is: ROCK ON LYNYRD SKYNYRD!!!
I LOVE YOU ALL FANS OF LYNYRD SKYNYRD!!
- oldnoddLv 51 decade ago
I reckon people realised they couldn't sing and stop buying them and they died a natural death - well I hope so anyway bad enough I have to hear them on singstar when some stupid kid want to sing them!