18 May 2010
Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American rock band, formed in Jacksonville, Florida in the summer of 1964. A group of teenagers, Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, and Gary Rossington, formed the band and called it "The Noble Five."
The band went through a number of name changes and some personnel changes and were known as "My Backyard" and "The Swampers."
The group won a local Battle of the Bands contest in 1968 and got the opening slot on several Southeast shows for the California-based psychedelic rock band Strawberry Alarm Clock.
In 1970, Van Zant wanted a new name for the band, and after trying out "One Percent" and "The Noble Five," they settled on "Leonard Skinnerd."
The name was taken from a physical-education teacher at Robert E. Lee High School named Leonard Skinner. Skinner was known for being harsh on boys with long hair. Before they released their first album, they changed the spelling to Lynyrd Skynyrd.
The band became prominent in 1973 with the hit song "Free Bird", which received national airplay, eventually reaching #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. It has become a rock and roll anthem today.
They achieved worldwide recognition before three members and one road crew member died in an airplane crash in 1977.
The band reformed in 1987 for a reunion tour with lead singer Ronnie Van Zant's younger brother Johnny as the frontman. Lynyrd Skynyrd continues to tour and record. Of its original members, only Gary Rossington remains with the band as of 2010. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.
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