Ed King (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

Ed King, American guitarist and songwriter with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hunger, and Strawberry Alarm Clock sadly died 22 August 2018 at the age of 68. King was born 14 September 1949 and was one of the founding members of the psychedelic rock band Strawberry Alarm Clock, in Los Angeles during the mid-1960s. The band’s largest success was with a song that King co-wrote, “Incense and Peppermints” (but, along with keyboardist Mark Weitz, did not get credit). The song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1967. Their follow-up single, “Tomorrow,” reached No. 23 on January

Lynyrd Skynyrd are Best known for popularizing the Southern hard rock genre during the 1970s Lynyrd Skynyrd were Originally formed In the summer of 1964, when teenage friends Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, and Gary Rossington formed the band “The Noble Five” in Jacksonville, Florida. The band changed in 1965 to “My Backyard”, when Larry Junstrom and Bob Burns joined. In 1968, the group won a local Battle of the Bands contest and the opening slot on several Southeast shows for the California-based psychedelic rock band Strawberry Alarm Clock. the group eventually settled on the name “Leonard Skinner”, a mocking tribute to a physical-education teacher at Robert E. Lee High School, Leonard Skinner, who was notorious for strictly enforcing the school’s policy against boys having long hair.During the 1970′s the band experienced many line-up changes and in 1972 the band was discovered at one of their shows at a club in Atlanta, GA.

Ed King met the members of Jacksonville, Florida-based Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd when the band opened up for Strawberry Alarm Clock on a few shows in early 1968. It wasn’t until 1972 that he joined Skynyrd, replacing Leon Wilkeson on bass, who left the band briefly. Wilkeson rejoined the band, and King switched to guitar, creating the triple-guitar attack that became a signature sound for the band. They soon changed the spelling of their name to “Lynyrd Skynyrd”and their fan base continued to grow rapidly throughout 1973, largely due to their opening slot on The Who’s Quadrophenia tour in the United States.

His guitar playing and songwriting skills were an essential element to the band’s first three albums: Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd, Second Helping, and Nuthin’ Fancy. King co-wrote “Sweet Home Alabama,” and his voice counted the “one, two, three,” before he launched into his famous riff to start the song. Other songs that King wrote or co-wrote the music for include “Poison Whiskey,” “Saturday Night Special,” “Mr. Banker,” “Swamp Music,” “Whiskey Rock-a-Roller,” “Railroad Song,” “I Need You” and “Workin’ For MCA.”

Their 1974 follow-up, Second Helping, was the band’s breakthrough hit, and featured their most popular single, “Sweet Home Alabama” helping them rise to worldwide recognition. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s third album, Nuthin’ Fancy, was released in 1975. However King decided to leave the band in 1975 during the “Torture Tour.” He was replaced in 1976 by Steve Gaines. Lynyrd Skynyrds fourth album Gimme Back My Bullets was released in January 1976, but did not achieve the same success as the previous two albums. Steve Gaines joined the band in June 1976 and the newly-reconstituted band recorded the double-live album One More From the Road at the Fox Theatre (Atlanta, Georgia) in Atlanta, and performed at the Knebworth festival, which also featured The Rolling Stones. The next album 1977′s Street Survivors turned out to be a showcase for guitarist/vocalist Steve Gaines and included the iconic rock anthem “Free Bird”.

Sadly though, On October 20, 1977, just three days after the release of Street Survivors, and at the peak of their success, three members (Including Gaines) all died in an airplane crash, Following the crash and the ensuing press, Street Survivors became the band’s second platinum album and reached No. 5 on the U.S. album chart. The single “What’s Your Name” reached No. 13 on the single airplay charts in January 1978.

The Surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, including Ed King, re-formed in 1987 for a reunion tour with lead singer Ronnie Van Zant’s younger brother Johnny as frontman. A version of the band continues to tour and record, with only Gary Rossington of its original members remaining as of 2012. Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 13, 2003. was killed in a plane crash along with his sister Cassie Gaines and lead singer Ronnie Van Zant on October 20, 1977. Sadly King  was forced to leave Lynyrd Skynyrd again in 1996 due to congestive heart failure. King, along with all pre-crash members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. In 2014 King played on the song “Make It Easy. on Skinny Molly’s album: “Here For A Good Time.”

 

 

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