Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida. The group originally formed as My Backyard in 1964 and comprised Ronnie Van Zant (lead vocalist), Gary Rossington (guitar), Allen Collins (guitar), Larry Junstrom (bass guitar) and Bob Burns (drums).
On August 21, 1976, Lynyrd Skynyrd took the stage at Knebworth as part of a daylong festival which also included Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, 10cc and The Rolling Stones. The show has gone down in Lynyrd Skynyrd history as one of the band’s greatest performances. The 1976 Knebworth show features Ronnie Van Zant’s iconic vocals and their famed triple guitar attack of Gary Rossington, Allen Collins and Steve Gaines in front of a crowd estimated between 150,000 and 200,000.
Following a performance at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium in Greenville, South Carolina, on October 20, 1977, the band boarded a chartered Convair CV-240 bound for Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where they were scheduled to appear at LSU the following night. After running out of fuel, the pilots attempted an emergency landing before crashing in a heavily forested area five miles northeast of Gillsburg, Mississippi. Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines, along with backup singer Cassie Gaines (Steve’s older sister), assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray were killed on impact. Other band members (Collins, Rossington, Wilkeson, Powell, Pyle, and Hawkins), tour manager Ron Eckerman, and several road crew members suffered serious injuries