Lynyrd Skynyrd-Street Survivors

Lynyrd Skynyrd had to cancel several shows over the weekend due to a heart attack of OG guitarist Gary Rossington, the latest in a dozen-year saga which began in 2003 with a quintuple bypass operation followed by a stent since then. With the marking of the anniversary Tuesday of the tragic airplane accident which decimated the original Lynyrd Skynyrd, you could focus on the obvious fact that guitarists  Rossington and past & current member Rick Medlocke are the sole survivors of the Jacksonville kids who met on the baseball field, practiced in a carport, and wrote rock history. Yet if you over-analyze the meaning of this latest set back, you risk missing the point of every Lynyrd Skynyrd release and tour (counting the Rossington-Collins Band) for the last 35 years. When I asked a visibly scarred and emotionally traumatized Gary Rossington in May 1980 why he chose to soldier on after their tragic 1977 plane crash killed three band members, Rossington replied,”Because I don’t know how to do anything else, except pick strawberries. And I’d rather play music. ”

The core of Lynyrd Skynyrd always has been the ageless bond among boyhood friends from the wrong side of the tracks in Jacksonville. Eventually nature  will impose its own “stop loss policy” on the band, but it appears unlikely as long as original members Rossington and Medlocke are the last men standing.– Redbeard

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