The Lynyrd Skynyrd Song That Predicted The Plane Crash In Its Lyrics


In 1964, Lynyrd Skynyrd started their musical career as My Backyard. They then toured for around five years under various names before deciding on ‘Lynyrd Skynyrd’ in 1969. In the 1970s, at the height of their fame, Lynyrd Skynyrd helped popularize the Southern rock genre with hit songs like ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and ‘Free Bird.’

Although they enjoyed remarkable success in the scene, the band also experienced a painful period during their career. The band’s airplane crashed three days after they released ‘Street Survivors’ and five dates into their tour. This tragic incident on October 20, 1977, took the lives of Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and Cassie Gaines and left the other members fatally injured. However, it turns out that one song in their catalog predicted the crash.

Which Lynyrd Skynyrd Song Foresaw The Future?


The plane accident occurred on October 20, 1977, after a show at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium in South Carolina. Lynyrd Skynyrd was planning to land in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for their next show, and they safely boarded the plane. However, the pilots noticed they were out of fuel after a while. Due to that, they tried an emergency landing but failed, causing the plane to crash.

A day before the tragic incident, several band members saw huge sparks and flames coming out of the plane’s engine while flying to their show on October 19. Despite that, Ronnie Van Zant ignored these signs and didn’t even consider getting a new plane for not to cancel their upcoming shows. After the crash, the band members felt deeply traumatized and took a hiatus until a special event in January 1979.

On the other hand, some fans and conspiracy theorists speculated that their album ‘Street Survivors’ predicted the crash before it took place. These speculators argued that on the ‘Street Survivors’ album cover, which depicted the band amid flames on the street, only the members who were touched by the flame died. Although this wasn’t the case, MCA Records changed the original cover and used a plain black background.

Apart from this speculation, others believed that Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘That Smell,’ featured in the ‘Street Survivors’ album,’ was also a predictor of the crash. Although Van Zant’s inspiration source was the band member’s recklessness, drug abuse, and Gary Rossington’s car crash, some argued the lyrics ‘the smell of death surrounds you,’ ‘angel of darkness is upon you,’ and ‘tomorrow might not be here for you’ foresaw the tragedy unknowingly.

You can listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘That Smell’ below.