Ronnie Van Zant

Happy Birthday

Ronald Wayne Van Zant
January 15, 1948
Jacksonville, Florida

We remember Ronnie Van Zant as the talented founder/singer and songwriter of Lynyrd Skynyrd. 

Growing up in Florida, Van Zant dreamed of being a baseball player and was also a talented boxer. Ronnie vowed that someday, he would become the most famous person to come out of Jacksonville since stock car champion Lee Roy Yarbrough. He kept his word by far. 

Ronnie's love for music won out and his band Lynyrd Skynyrd eventually earned  international fame and fortune beyond his wildest dreams. 

Lynyrd Skynyrd was named after a local High School teacher Leonard Skinner who disapproved of long haired male students. 

The band's national exposure began in 1973 with the release of their debut album, (Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd), which had a string of hits that included "I Ain't the One", "Tuesday's Gone", "Gimme Three Steps", "Simple Man," and what became their signature, "Free Bird", later dedicated to the late Duane Allman of The Allman Brothers Band
Skynyrd is often referred to as a Southern Rock band, but make no mistake about it. They were a hard driving straight ahead Rock n Roll band. Blues influenced with a vicious 3 guitar attack. They kicked ass in every way possible. 

From 1973 - 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd released 5 Gold & Platinum albums. "Second Helping", "Nuthin' Fancy", "Gimme Back My Bullets", & "Street Survivors". 

What an amazing catalog, and who could forget these songs. The soundtrack of our lives. "Sweet Home Alabama", "Call Me The Breeze", "Saturday Night Special", "Gimme 3 Steps", "What's Your Name", "That Smell" and too many more to count. 

On October 20, 1977, a plane carrying the band between shows from Greenville, South Carolina, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, ran out of fuel outside Gillsburg, Mississippi. The passengers had been informed about potential problems with the Convair CV-240 and were told to brace for a crash. Van Zant died on impact from head injuries suffered after the aircraft struck a tree. Bandmates Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines, along with assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray, were also killed. The rest of the band was seriously injured. Van Zant was 29 years old.

The accident came just 3 days after the release of "Street Survivors". Van Zant left a lasting legacy and his music is still loved to this day and will live on forever. 

Remembering you on your birthday Ronnie! Thank You For the Music Mr. Van Zant! We all love and miss you!
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