Ronnie Van Zant Struggled To Preserve Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Spirit, Henry Paul Recalls

Outlaws’ lead singer Henry Paul discussed in a new interview with John Beaudin of Rock History Music that Ronnie Van Zant needed a songwriting partner after Ed King’s 1975 departure from Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The vocalist said:

“When Ed King left, I think Ronnie knew that he needed a songwriting partner. You know, someone to give the band the kind of life it had early on with Ed. Ed brought a very significantly important voice to Lynyrd Skynyrd as a songwriter and as a player.”

He also emphasized Gary Rossington’s importance to the Lynyrd Skynyrd sound:

“Let me go on record and say that Gary Rossington was a great guitar player and a core member of that group. To me, when you say Lynyrd Skynyrd, I think Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, and Ronnie Van Zant.”

When Outlaws opened for Lynyrd Skynyrd back in 1974, Van Zant helped the band get a record deal by offering them to an executive, as Paul recalled:

“The Outlaws, in a lot way, owe their career to Ronnie because of the way he promoted our group early on. So that in itself put him in a unique place in my life.”

The songwriting partnership between Ed King and Ronnie Van Zant created the Lynyrd Skynyrd songs, ‘Sweet Home Alabama,’ ‘Poison Whiskey,’ ‘Saturday Night Special,’ ‘Whiskey Rock-a-Roller,’ and others. After his departure, Allen Collins, Gary Rossington, and Steve Gaines helped Van Zant in the songwriting process.

You can watch the entire chat with Henry Paul below.