Spotlight Artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd

Every weekday between 1 and 5pm we play tracks from our #spotlightartist. They’re an artist with a body of work which has stood the test of time. We’ll play the hits – but also some deep cuts. Listen ad-free through New Zealand via @tunein at https://goo.gl/VL6m3NS

With a name that must frustrate spell-checkers everywhere, Lynyrd Skynyrd have achieved recognition for bringing “Southern Rock” to the forefront in the early 1970s. Their hard rocking image was backed by the songwriting talents of leader Ronnie Van Zant. They formed in high school, their name being a mockery of teacher Leonard Skinner (who didn’t like long hair). They played live for a few years without much success before they were spotted by producer Al Kooper who produced their first album Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd. “Free Bird” off that album was a big success. Dedicated to Duane Allman of The Allman Brothers (who had died in a motorbike crash in 1971) the song became legendary through radio airplay. Their second album (Second Helping, 1974) went multi-platinum and featured the 70s standard “Sweet Home Alabama”.

The band released several more albums over the next few years until on October 17 1977 band members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and his sister Cassie were tragically killed in a plane crash. In those few short years however they produced quintessential Southern Rock. We look forward to enjoying a selection this week.

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