Big 95 Morning Show with Dewayne Wells

Big 95 Morning Show with Dewayne Wells

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Lynyrd Skynyrd: 45 years since that awful day in 1977

45 years ago today, October 20th, 1977, three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd were killed when their plane crashed in Mississippi, a day that would forever change rock ‘n roll.

Those killed that awful day were 28-year-old lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, 28-year-old guitarist Steve Gaines and his sister, 29-year-old backup vocalist Cassie Gaines. Also killed in the crash were assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick and pilots Walter McCreary and William Gray.

The band was en route from Greenville, South Carolina to Baton Rouge, Louisiana for a concert the next night when the chartered Convair CV-300 (previously used by Aerosmith) had a faulty engine problem. The pilots were diverted to the McComb-Pike County Airport but ran out of fuel as they attempted an emergency landing and then crashed in a heavily wooded area five miles northeast of Gillsburg, Mississippi.

Drummer Artimus Pyle, who suffered torn chest cartilage in the crash, made his way through the forest, a field and creek to get help. However, Johnny Mote, owner of the farmhouse he came upon, mistook him for an escaped convict and fired a warning shot over his head.

Artimus later talked about the crash that claimed the lives of his bandmates:

"Allen Collins and I were in the cockpit watching the sun go down at 9,000 feet and we lost our right engine. And I went back through the cockpit and told everybody we lost an engine, to tighten their seatbelts and put out cigarettes and the left engine went out. And I could see fear in our pilot's eyes and he asked me to get out of the jump seat and go back and strap myself in. But I got up like a zombie and I walked back to my seat on the aisle behind Cassie Gaines. And Cassie was killed and I wasn't. And I think God spared me so that I could go get help."  

The tour was in support of their fifth album, Street Survivors, which had been released three days earlier. Skynyrd split up shortly afterward before reuniting in 1987 with Ronnie's youngest brother, Johnny Van Zant, taking over vocals. Guitarist Gary Rossington is the only founding member and crash survivor still in the band.

We’ll all forever remember that terrible day in October of 1977 and those who were lost. Get more on Lynyrd Skynyrd on the Big Show Fan Page at and on iHeartRadio, keyword Lynyrd Skynyrd.

[Source: Classic Hits Today]

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