Today is the birthday of Steve Gaines, guitar player for Lynyrd Skynyrd born
on this day in 1949. The band was discovered playing in an Atlanta club by
Blood Sweat And Tears founder Al Kooper in 1972. Kooper signed them to his
new Sounds of the South record label and released Pronounced Leh-Nerd
Skin-Nerd, which included the classic "Freebird," probably the second
most requested song in rock history. The band which drew heavily from the
hard English bluesrock sound had the good fortune to have a fan in the Who's
Pete Townshend, who requested that Skynyrd open for the 1973
Quadrophenia tour. As a result the band developed a strong fan base
early in their career. "Sweet Home Alabama" from Second Helping was
the band's biggest single. Other singles included "Saturday Night Special,"
"What's your Name," and "You Got That Right." Tragically the band's career
was cut short when their plane crashed on October 20, 1977. Gaines, his
sister Cassie Gaines (one of three female backup singers), Ronnie Van Zant,
and their personal manager Dean Kilpatrick were killed when their rented
single-engine Convair 240 plane short of fuel crashed into a swamp in
Gillsburg, MS enroute to play at a Louisiana University on a 50 city tour.
Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Billy Powell and Leon Wilkenson were all
seriously injured but eventually recovered. It is also the birthday of Barry
Cowsill (Cowsills), and Paul Kosoff (Free).