Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd will bring their unmistakable blues-rock sound with its “Gods and Guns” Tour to Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on March 4 at 8 p.m. Tickets go on sale Friday, January 7 at 1 p.m.
With a catalog of over 60 albums and sales beyond 30 million, Lynyrd Skynyrd remains a cultural icon that appeals to all generations. Lynyrd Skynyrd is the definitive Southern rock band, fusing the overdriven power of blues-rock with a rebellious Southern image and a hard rock swagger.
The band was formed in Jacksonville, Florida, where founding members Ronnie Van Zant (vocals), Allen Collins (guitar), Gary Rossington (guitar), Leon Wilkeson (bass) and Billy Powell (keyboards) took a
mocking tribute to their gym teacher, Leonard Skinner, who was notorious for punishing students with long hair. Their 1973 debut, Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd, recorded after former Strawberry Alarm Clock guitarist Ed King joined the band, became famous for the triple-guitar attack, which was showcased on “Free Bird,” a tribute to the recently deceased Duane Allman. “Free Bird” earned Lynyrd Skynyrd their first national exposure and it became one of the staples of album rock radio, still receiving airplay decades after its release.
“Free Bird” and an opening slot on the Who’s 1973 Quadrophenia tour gave Lynyrd Skynyrd a devoted following, which boosted their second album, 1974′s Second Helping, to a breakthrough hit. Featuring the hit single “Sweet Home Alabama” — a response to Neil Young’s “Southern Man” — Second Helping reached #12 and went multi-platinum. Nuthin’ Fancy (1975) became the band’s first Top Ten hit. The record was followed by Gimme Back My Bullets (1976) and the double live album, One More from the Road that became Skynyrd’s second Top Ten album.
On October 17, 1977, three days after the release of their sixth album, Street Survivors, a privately chartered plane carrying the band between shows in Greenville, SC, and Baton Rouge, LA, crashed outside of Gillsburg, MS. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and his sister Cassie, one of the group’s backing vocalists, died in the crash; the remaining members were injured. The cover for Street Survivors had pictured the band surrounded in flames; after the crash, the cover was changed. In the wake of the tragedy, the album became one of the band’s biggest hits. Lynyrd Skynyrd broke up after the crash, releasing a collection of early demos called Skynyrd’s First and…Last in 1978; it had been scheduled for release before the crash. The double-album compilation Gold & Platinum was released in 1980.
In 1987, Rossington, Powell, King, and Wilkeson reunited Lynyrd Skynyrd, adding vocalist Johnny Van Zant and guitarist Randall Hall. The band embarked on a reunion tour, which was captured on the 1988 double live album, Southern by the Grace of God/Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Tour — 1987.
During the ’90s, Lynyrd Skynyrd were made honorary colonels in the Alabama State Militia, due to their classic rock staple “Sweet Home Alabama.” During the mid-’90s, Van Zant, Rossington, Wilkeson, and Powell regrouped by adding two Southern rock veterans to Skynyrd’s guitar stable: former Blackfoot frontman Rickey Medlocke and ex-Outlaws Hughie Thomasson plus ex-Damn Yankee Michael Cartellone. More albums followed.
The band’s latest release is God + Guns (2009) on Roadrunner Records.
Tickets cost $92.50, $77.50, $62.50 and $47.50*; All seats are reserved and available at the Hard Rock Live Box Office, open Tuesday – Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. and on Sunday & Monday – only open on event days at noon. Tickets also are available at all Ticketmaster outlets online at www.ticketmaster.com or charge by phone: 1-800-745-3000. Doors open one-hour prior to show start time. *Additional fees may apply.