The Most Talented Lynyrd Skynyrd Member According To Ronnie Van Zant

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When Lynyrd Skynyrd rose to prominence in the mid-’70s, they immediately stood out with their Southern rock sound successfully blended with blues and country. They became one of the pioneers in the Southern rock scene along with the Allman Brothers Band and the Marshall Tucker Band. Although they released their debut album ‘(Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd)’ in 1973, they had already made a name for themselves in the South by constantly appearing on local shows and sometimes opening for national acts.

The songs like ‘Free Bird’ and ‘Simple Man’ launched the band to superstardom and helped them grow their fanbase even more. The follow-up album, ‘Second Helping,’ was also highly successful, but some internal problems started to arise while the group was enjoying the peak of its fame. The band had to go through many personnel changes around this period, which was something they were no strangers to, though.

Steve Gaines Joined Lynyrd Skynyrd In 1976

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Like any other band, Lynyrd Skynyrd also underwent several lineup changes throughout their career. Gary Rossington is the only group member that has appeared in every period of the band. Following the release of their second studio album, ‘Second Helping,’ in 1974, the band members were the stars of the rock scene. However, they also needed to deal with some internal issues.

The band’s drummer Bob Burns left the group in January 1975 during a European tour after suffering a mental breakdown. Then, the band quickly recorded their third album, ‘Nuthin’ Fancy.’ Yet, it failed to satisfy the expectations set by the previous records. During their tour to support the album, the band’s guitarist Ed King abruptly departed from the group, and they started to look for a replacement. After being recommended by Cassie Gaines, a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s female backup singers, the Honkettes, Steve Gaines joined the band as the new guitarist.

What Did Ronnie Van Zant Think Of Steve Gaines?

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Steve Gaines jammed with Lynyrd Skynyrd informally a couple of times on the stage, and then they invited him to the recordings of the band’s live album, ‘One More from the Road.’ They were genuinely impressed by his outstanding performance and unique contribution to the band’s sound. Later, the guitarist also performed in the group’s fifth studio album, 1977’s ‘Street Survivors.’

Besides his exceptional guitar work, Steve Gaines also stood out with his strong songwriting skills. His incredible talents did not go unnoticed by his bandmate, Ronnie Van Zant. The singer praised his vocal and instrumental skills both publicly and privately. He even claimed that Gaines’ multiple talents would someday overshadow the band. Unfortunately, Steve Gaines was also there in the band’s tragic plane crash, separating him from this world.