About Bill Powell
Best known for his time as Lynyrd Skynyrd's unique keyboardist, Billy Powell was born on (June 3, 1952) in Corpus Christi, TX. His father was a Navy man, and so Powell spent some of his childhood in Italy. Before he was nine years old, his father passed away, and the family moved back to the United States where Powell attended a military boarding school in Florida. He took piano training during this time, but hardly needed the lessons. Some people are just born with an ear for music, with a gift for playing what tunes they like, and young Powell was so blessed.
After graduating from high school, Powell entered college and, not surprisingly, majored in Music Theory. He also studied music in what many would consider a less practical way, by becoming a roadie for the Lynyrd Skynyrd rock group and performing with the band Alice Marr. After a couple of years of working with Skynyrd as a roadie, Powell let the group hear what he could do on the keyboards. It was 1972 and Ronnie VanZant was so impressed with what he heard that Powell was giving the job of Skynyrd's keyboardist on the spot. Things went from good to great, life slowly becoming a dream come true for Powell and his bandmates as they set about making album rock history.
In 1977, the dream became a nightmare. A plane carrying the band members on a tour crashed into a patch of Mississippi swamp land. Powell was one of the survivors, but after the loss of Ronnie VanZant, Steve Gains, Cassie Gaines, and manager Dean Kilpatrick, there was no heart left in Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Music did go on for Powell. He performed with other bands and even formed one of his own in 1979, Alias. The group released one album, Contraband. He later joined forces with other Skynyrd members in the Rossington-Collins Band and then hung on when it became simply the Allen Collins Band. Next, around 1985, Powell joined a Christian group called Vision.
In 1987, when the surviving Skynyrd members got together to do a reunion, Powell was there, touring with the group, and over the next few years, releasing some new tunes for old and new fans alike. Powell has also made a debut solo album, Second Time Around, recorded under the Accent Records label. ~ Charlotte Dillon, Rovi