October 20 - 1977 - Lynyrd Skynyrd's Plane Crashes
Lynyrd Skynyrd had just released the brand new album Street Survivors and was on a national tour when their plane ride from Greenville to Baton Rouge ended in a crash. The crash killed lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaine, and backup singer Cassie Gaines. As with many tragic events involving famous people, this plane crash helped cement Lynyrd Skynyrd's legendary status as the quintessential Southern rock band. Yet this legend also tends to obscure the reality of who Lynyrd Skynyrd was. They played a unique blend of hard rock, blues, and country, with songs that would present Southern culture from a counter-cultural perspective. They were also a dynamic live band at their height. But the plane crash looms over everything, making their actual music almost secondary.