In the summer of 1964 Jacksonville, Florida teenager Ronnie Van Zant and some of his friends hatched the idea of forming a band to play covers of the Rolling Stones, Beatles, Yardbirds and the country and blues-rock music they had grown to love. Naming their band after Leonard Skinner, the gym teacher at Robert E. Lee Senior High School who constantly badgered the long-haired aspiring musicians to get haircuts, they were soon playing gigs at parties, and bars throughout the South. During the next decade Lynyrd Skynyrd grew into the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful of the rock bands to emerge from the South since the Allman Brothers. Their hits "Free Bird" and "Sweet Home Alabama" became classics. Then, at the height of its popularity in 1977, the band was struck with tragedy-a plane crash that killed Ronnie Van Zant and two other band members.
For the fans who have purchased a cumulative 35 million copies of Lynyrd Skynyrd's albums and continue to pack concerts today, Lynyrd Skynyrd is a celebration of an immortal American band.
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