Ronnie Van Zant: January 15, 1948 – October 20, 1977
Steve Gaines: September 14, 1949 – October 20, 1977
Cassie Gaines: July 5, 1948 – October 20, 1977
It has 35 years since the plane carrying the band members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and others, crashed in Gillsburg, Mississippi. 6 people died and the others injured. Ronnie Van Zant who was a founding member of the rock band Lynyrd Skynryd, Steve Gaines who was a guitarist and vocalist for Lynyrd Skynryd, and Steve’s sister, Cassie Gaines who was a vocalist and songwriter for the band, all died in the crash.
It is said that Ronnie Van Zant was “…buried wearing his trademark black Texas Hatters cowboy hat and with his favorite fishing pole.”1 Ron Eckerman, who was the former tour manager for Lynyrd Skynyrd and friend of the band, recently published a book entitled, Turn It Up! He recounts his time on the road with the band and the horrific night of the plane crash.
Lynyrd Skynyrd broke up following the crash but some of the surviving members and others have since reunited. Following the crash, the album, Street Survivors, became the band’s second platinum album. The original album cover for Street Survivors was a photo of the band, which has Steve Gaines engulfed in flames. It is said that “Out of respect for the deceased (and at the request of Teresa Gaines, Steve's widow), MCA Records withdrew the original cover and replaced it with a similar image of the band against a simple black background.”2 The album was later released with the original cover for the deluxe CD version.3
1Tod Benoit, Where Are They Buried? (New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.), 376.