Unique facts about the band Lynyrd Skynyrd, who survived a huge tragedy

Released just 3 days before the plane crash, Street Survivors contained the best material ever recorded by Skynyrd! Unfortunately, the album cover also featured a picture of the band in flames, an unfortunate image...

We tell the details about the band Lynyrd Skynyrd, which you might not know

Today about the group Lynyrd Skynyrd every rock fan knows: this American band is considered one of the best and most influential in history! Not for nothing Lynyrd Skynyrd were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and their worldwide circulation is about 30 million records (and this is only in the USA!) However, the music was not the only aspect that glorified the group ... Tragedy befell Lynyrd Skynyrd, one of the best southern rock bands, just three days after the release of their fifth album with a symbolic name Street Survivorswhen the band seemed to be on the verge of unprecedented public recognition. It happened October 20, 1977: Plane crash kills three members of Skynyrd, including one of the founders Ronald Van Zant. But what actually caused the plane to crash? Even in the 21st century, despite an official investigation and the notion that the crash was due to pilot error, the circumstances and decisions leading to the death remain unknown… The following are the facts of the infamous plane crash that wiped out one of the most unique voices of American rock and roll. roll...

Background of the tragedy

Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd

For Lynyrd Skynyrd, as for rock music in general, 1977 the year was marked by the release of their fifth studio album Street Survivors. However… just 3 days later, a terrible plane crash happened. The band's ambitious tour in support of their latest album has just begun and they've decided to charter a plane to get to every destination quickly...

As it turns out, in addition to Lynyrd Skynyrd in this plane were interested and Aerosmith! It's about Convair CV-240 with two propellers... The band's autobiography tells the following story: when Aerosmith saw pilots exchanging bottles Jack Daniel's during the inspection, they were convinced that both Convair and his team did not meet their standards ... But interesting oddities and coincidences that can easily be regarded as signs from above do not end there ... Some Skynyrd members did not want to fly Convair.

Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd

Ronald Van Zant was more than just the group's main songwriter and central figure... While sober, he was the patriarchal influence that held the band together in earlier, leaner times. However, while intoxicated, Ronnie was a fearsome and violent man who once knocked out two of the front teeth of keyboardist Billy Powell (he felt that Powell had stretched his piano introduction to "Free Bird"…) But it's not about that.

It turned out that some participants Skynyrd did not want to fly on Convair. However, finding and renting a new plane meant rescheduling the tour dates, which Van Zant couldn't even think of... The man who repeatedly stated that he would never live to be 30 years old, he got on the plane and said Cassie Gaines: "If your time is up, your time is up."

No signs of trouble…?

Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd

Previously, October 18, 1977 by Lynyrd Skynyrd performed in Lakeland, Florida, after which they flew to Greenville, South Carolina. However, something happened along the way that really alarmed some members of the group: they saw 10-foot streams of sparks and flames erupting from the right engine of a propeller aircraft ... But as mentioned above, Van Zant was not going to postpone the dates in order to replace the aircraft another. And when he got into the Convair, the rest of the group and Skynyrd's entourage reluctantly, but still followed him ... Most of all, the situation did not like Cassie Gaines, however, not wanting to leave her brother, guitarist Steve Gaines, she canceled the plane booking ...

Mark Frank, 24 year old roadie group, later recalled that at the beginning of the flight there were many fears. But the plane took off without problems, and two and a half hours passed without incident. The environment relaxed, some even started playing poker. Ronald Van Zant slept on the floor in the anus. But then Frank noticed gasoline splattering from the right engine... He wondered if the pilots were just trying to transfer fuel from one engine to another? Suddenly, the right engine propeller stopped and the plane began to jerk violently. The pilots had just radioed Houston air traffic control, sensing they had a fuel problem. They requested landing vectors...

Beginning of the End…

Ronald Van Zant
Ronald Van Zant

Pilots Walter McCreery and William Gray were already aware of the fuel problem, and there are speculations that they tried to transfer oil from one engine to the other, but instead mistakenly ejected all the remaining fuel, causing the left engine to shut down as well. At the time, they were on top. 9000 feet in the air…

Group members Artimus Pyle and Billy Powell entered the cockpit when one of the pilots, his eyes distorted with fear, told them to return to their seats and fasten everyone with seat belts. Pyle woke up Ronnie and informed him of the situation. Survivors will later say that Skynyrd's lead vocalist casually walked over to his seat with an annoyed expression on his face, as if it was just another bad day at the office... Ronald Van Zant died 87 days before his 30th birthday.

The pilots contacted Houston at 18:42. They were told that they had passed the runway in McComb and will have to try to turn the plane... According to Mark Frank, the pilots made a terrifying 180-degree turn with both wings perpendicular to the ground! One minute he could hear the engines running, the next only the air passing over the plane. He heard his fellow travelers silently praying...

Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd

The daylight was rapidly disappearing, and only the tops of the trees of the dense wilderness were visible from the window of the plane ... Convair was only a few hundred feet above the ground! The pilots were desperately looking for open country or farmland to try and land the plane as safely as possible, as they were still eight miles from the airport! But they never found anything - the plane was destined to land in the middle of a swamp Mississippi. Billy Powell recalls:

“We hit the trees at about 90 miles per hour. It felt like we were hit with baseball bats in a steel trash can with the lid closed. The tail section broke off, the cockpit broke and buckled at the bottom, and both wings broke off. The fuselage turned sideways, and everyone was thrown forward ... "

Utterly surreal crash scene

Crashed plane Lynyrd Skynyrd...
Crashed plane Lynyrd Skynyrd ...

Mark Frank still remembers the sound of metal cracking as the fuselage ripped open and the wings were torn off by the trees. And then silence. Another member of the road crew next to Frank moaned, “What happened?” Frank replied, "We fucking crashed."

Suddenly, he heard the groans and cries of other passengers for help. It was the drummer Artimus Pyle and another team member Steve Lawler. They crawled out of a hole in the rear fuselage and went to look for help ... Daylight was visible and ... terrifying scenes. Frank was able to see the pilots and other passengers. They were dead and the scenes looked awful...

First aid

Convair CV-240
Convair CV-240

Artimus Pyle managed to visually locate something remotely resembling civilization when the plane began to fall ... After the crash, he was able to orient himself and headed towards what he believed was a local farm. Even so, it took forty-five minutes to get to the farmer's property. Johnny Mota.

Mote was laying hay for his cattle when he heard what sounded like a car sliding on gravel and a loud crash. Soon after that, he saw three men come out of the forest ... Wounded and with crazy faces - the farmer suggested that they were plotting bad deeds. Deciding that they were criminals, he ran home, grabbed a shotgun, and when people came closer, Mote fired a warning shot. But soon he heard Pyle cry out: "Plane crash!"

Frame from the film about the plane crash Lynyrd Skynyrd
Frame from the film about the plane crash Lynyrd Skynyrd

Mote made a connection between the sounds of "think of a car sliding on gravel" and the wounded. Pyle used Mote's phone to call his wife, and Mote's wife called the local emergency service in the largest local city. McComb, Mississippi. However, Moat wasn't sure what he was dealing with, as he and the other neighbors remained skeptical of the bloody people on his porch. Frank and Lawler were the first survivors to be taken to the hospital.

First at the crash site was a local fire chief named Jamie Wall. By the way: he finally convinced Mota that the accident really happened. Wall used a flashlight to cross the creek, and when he got to the plane, a Coast Guard helicopter illuminated it so that all rescue units could find it. The plane was twisted in parts, the front part was upside down. Wall tripped several times in the dark over people still alive and used an ax to cut down the rubble and pull the survivors out from under it... Although six people died, including both pilots, 20 people surviveddespite horrific injuries...

Some interesting facts

Album street survivors
Album street survivors

This horrific incident forced the band to change their album cover. Released just 3 days before the plane crash, Street Survivors contained the best material ever recorded Skynyrd! Unfortunately, the album cover also featured a photo of the band in flames, an unfortunate image that MCA Records promptly replaced. Subsequent copies had a plain black background.

Curious but successful Street Survivors was provoked by a strangely prescient and gloomy song "That Small"which includes the words "The smell of death surrounds you!"

Ronald Van Zant admitted to writing lyrics for Street Survivorsto commemorate various car accidents and violent incidents around him. These events led him to believe that the group was heading towards an apocalyptic end...

Ed King
Ed King

The member who intuitively left the group had the same birthday as his late replacement. It's about the lead guitarist. Ede Kinge, who left Skynyrd on May 27, 1975 for reasons that are still disputed. King was eventually replaced Steve Gaines, one of two members of the group who died on October 20, 1977. Years later, King was stunned when he found out they shared the same birthday: September 14, 1949.


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