Allen Collins’ Heartbreaking Speech To Lynyrd Skynyrd Fans In A Wheelchair

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As a co-founder and guitarist of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allen Collins often shared the songwriting duties with the frontman, Ronnie Van Zant. His passion for music started at a very early age after his father gave him a guitar and an amplifier, a move that ultimately turned him into a successful rock icon. He experienced the peak of his fame with the band in the ’70s, especially with the songs such as ‘Freebird’ and ‘Gimme Three Steps,’ which he co-wrote. Unfortunately, they had a horrible accident in 1977 while the band’s popularity was increasing.

Following the release of ‘Street Survivors,’ Lynyrd Skynyrd took the stage in Greenville. They would hit the road for the coming show in Louisiana via plane. However, besides several complications, the fuel ran out towards the end of their flight, and despite the pilots’ efforts, they crashed in a forest area near Mississippi. Collins survived the crash with severe injuries while his three bandmates passed away. As if that were not enough, he had another severe accident almost ten years later that would affect his entire life.

What Serious Accident Did Allen Collins Have?

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After Lynyrd Skynyrd’s disbandment following their horrible accident, Allen Collins focused on his music career with the bands the Rossington Collins Band and Allen Collins Band. Unfortunately, the rocker had another accident that would change his life on January 29, 1986.

One night, he and his girlfriend were in his Ford Thunderbird, and the musician was driving while under the influence of alcohol. The car went out of control, they had a horrible accident, and Collins’ partner passed away before arriving at the hospital. The accident left the musician paralyzed and severely injured in his arms and hands. The rocker could not control his hands properly and play guitar from then on.

When the surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd made a reunion in 1987, Collins started working with them only as a musical director as he could not play anymore. At almost every concert, the guitarist warned the fans about the dangers of driving while drunk, mentioning his tragic car accident. Again at one of these shows in the past, Collins took his place on the stage, sitting in his wheelchair.

As shared by roythewho’s YouTube channel, Collins called out to the audience, saying god bless all the people who came to the show and the United States. While his bandmates tried to soothe him during his speech, he encouraged people to listen to Lynyrd’s song and have fun. In his following address, Collins did not neglect to commemorate his late bandmate, Ronnie Van Zant, who died in the plane crash. He pointed out the importance of the band’s next performance, saying Zant wrote it.

Allen Collins said the following when the microphone was given to him:

“I really don’t know what to say. How about saying God bless all these visitors, God bless America, every one of you here. If it weren’t for you, there would be none of us. So, God bless you all, and we got a band for you. Listen and dance. Thank you.”

Collins added:

“This was written ten years ago, Ronnie Van Zant wrote these lyrics, and he wrote them from the heart. I just wanted you to know that and just think of this while listening to it.”

The band donated a considerable amount of the concert income from their 1987 and 1988 tour to the Miami Project, which deals with the treatment of paralysis. Collins also organized projects and programs to raise awareness about the people who faced hardships due to spinal cord injuries and physical disabilities. He established Roll For Rock Wheelchair Events and Benefit Concerts in the late ’80s. Unfortunately, the rocker passed away because of chronic pneumonia, a complication from his paralysis, on January 23, 1990.

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