The Last Song Lynryrd Skynyrd’s Ronnie Van Zant Listened To Before His Passing
Don Felder used to work in a music store to save a few dollars. He had been living in his native Florida town Gainesville and perhaps, unknown to him at the time, the small rock community of Gainesville would birth some of the most influential artists in music history.
So, when one day, a blonde kid entered the store, walked to Felder, and asked for guitar lessons, Don had no idea he would be lending his guitar genius to the hands of Tom Petty. However, the rock community of Florida didn’t only have rockers such as Felder or Petty. The Eagles guitarist would also recall meeting with Duane Allman and working with Stephen Stills.
However, the Florida legend we’ll be talking about is not any of these names, as it’s the story of the co-founder and former frontman of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the late Ronnie Van Zant. We’ll look at the unfortunate plane crash in which the young musician lost his life and learn the last song Van Zant had listened to.
It was common for musicians to travel by plane rather than suffer on hours-long bus trips. So, it was no surprise when Ronnie and his team chose to travel by plane, which would eventually take their lives. Van Zant’s bodyguard and survivor of the incident, Gene Odom, recalled the terrible incident in his documentary, ‘I’ll Never Forget You, the Last 72 Hours of Ronnie Van Zant.’
The bodyguard told First Coast News’ Ken Amaro in 2019 that everything seemed okay when they boarded the plane. Each team member of Ronnie’s was at peace as they started to wait for the trip to end. Ronnie decided to nap for a bit to relax and pass the time, but things didn’t go as planned.
The bodyguard recalled when the plane started to shake, he tried waking up Ronnie, and when it began to hit the trees, he would slap the musician to wake him up. However, it was too late when Van Zant finally awoke. As the bodyguard recalled the incident, he also lent a secret and disclosed the last song Van Zant ever listened to, which was ‘Rambling Fever’ by Merle Haggard.
“The last words Ronnie Van Zant heard were from Gene Odom,” reported Amaro as he disclosed the last song Ronnie listened to. “And I’ll tell you a secret: the last song he ever heard was ‘Rambling Fever’ by Merle Haggard.”
Ronnie had listened to ‘Rambling Fever’ and, perhaps, fell asleep to get ready for the stage when the plane landed. However, he wouldn’t be as lucky as his bodyguard and lose his life alongside the Gaines siblings who were there traveling with him. Van Zant’s bodyguard, luckily, survived and lived long enough to retell the story of the frontman.