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Posts Tagged ‘Lynyrd Skynyrd’

Died On This Date (March 14, 2011) Todd Cerney / Celebrated Rock & Country Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on March 14, 2011

Todd Cerney
DOB Unknown – March 14, 2011

Todd Cerney was a brilliant songwriter, musician, and producer who was based in Nashville, Tennessee.  Born in Detroit, Cerney moved to Nashville during the ’70s to further his career.  His songs have been recorded by George Strait, Tanya Tucker, Jon Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Cheap Trick to name a few.  His hits include the Grammy-nominated “I’ll Be Loving You” (Restless Heart) and the country chart topping “Good Morning Beautiful” (Steve Holy).  As an in-demand session player,  Cerney has performed live or recorded with a list of superstars that includes the Dixie Chicks, the Grateful Dead, the Beach Boys, and Jackson Browne.  In November of 2010, Todd Cerney suffered a brain seizure and subsequently learned he had stage four melanoma cancer.  On March 14, 2011, Cerney died as a result of the cancer.

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Died On This Date (September 20, 2010) Leonard Skinner / Inspired Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Name

Posted by themusicsover on September 20, 2010

Leonard Skinner
DOB Unknown – September 20, 2010

Leonard Skinner was a Jacksonville, Florida high school gym teacher who, during the late 1960s sent a group of his students to the principal’s audience for wearing their hair too long.  A few years later, those school friends, Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins and Gary Rossington, named their newly formed rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd as an inside joke tribute to their former coach at Robert E. Lee High School.  Skinner later became a local real estate agent and shared a mutual admiration for the band.  He even allowed them to use a photo of him inside 1975’s Nuthin’ Fancy.  Suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease in recent years, Leonard Skinner passed away in a Jacksonville health care facility on September 20, 2010.  He was 77.

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Died On This Date (July 27, 2001) Leon Wilkeson / Lynyrd Skynyrd

Posted by themusicsover on July 27, 2010

Leon Wilkeson
April 2, 1952 – July 27, 2001

Leon Wilkeson was an up-and-coming bassist in and around Jacksonville, Florida when he was asked to join Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1972.  Although he didn’t play on the band’s debut album due to his own apprehension, he played with them for the better part of the next 30 years.  With his help, Lynyrd Skynyrd became one of the biggest rock bands of the ’70s.  In 1977, tragedy struck when the band’s plane crashed killing band members, Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, and road manager Dean Kilpatrick.  Wilkeson was one of the few passangers who survived.  The band undertandably dissolved by reformed with the surviving members in 1987.  Leon Wilkeson died of emphysema and liver disease on July 27, 2001.

What You Should Own

Click to find at

Second Helping (Remastered) - Lynyrd Skynyrd

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Died On This Date (June 24, 2010) JoJo Billingsley / Back Up Singer For Lynyrd Skynyrd

Posted by themusicsover on June 24, 2010

JoJo Billingsley (Born Deborah Jo White)
1952 – June 24, 2010

JoJo Billingsley was a songwriter and vocalist who is perhaps best remembered as a member of the “Honkettes,” the so-nicknamed back-up singers for Lynyrd Skynyrd for nearly four years.  Billingsley joined the group in 1975, touring the world during their peak years.  That all came to a tragic end on October 20, 1977 when she was the only member of the band not killed in a plane crash that took the lives of Ronnie Van Zant, Cassie Gaines, Steve Gaines, Dean Kilpatrick (the band’s road manager) the pilot and co-pilot.  Billingsley has always maintained that she had a dream that the plane would crash just two nights prior and tried to stop the others from taking it.  The accident lead her to devote her life to the Lord as both a singer and later, minister.  In 2006, she reunited with the then-current members of Lynyrd Skynyrd at a their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  She also performed with members of the group at occasional charity or memorial events in recent years.  Jojo Billingsley was 58 when she died of cancer on June 24, 2010.

Thanks to Craig Rosen of Number1Albums for the assist.

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Died On This Date (June 18, 1999) Frank C. Starr / The Four Horsemen & SIN Lead Singer

Posted by themusicsover on June 18, 2010

Frank C. Starr
1958 – June 18, 1999

Frank C. Starr was a charismatic lead vocalist for hard rock bands, Alien, SIN, and most famously, the Four Horsemen. Raised on Long Island, NY, Starr eventually landed in Los Angeles to take his shot at the big time. After a short run in a band called Alien, Starr began to make a name for himself fronting a band called SIN through the mid ’80s, but struggled to get noticed in the same Sunset Strip scene that gave us Guns ‘n Roses, Ratt, and Great White. After the band called it quits in 1984, Starr landed in the Four Horsemen, a rock band that took its cue more from ’70s rockers like Lynyrd Skynyrd or AC/DC than such contemporaries as Poison or Faster Pussycat. After self-releasing a four-song EP in 1989, the band were snatched up by Rick Rubin’s Def American label and went into the studio with Rubin producing. The resulting album Nobody Said It Was Easy, garnered enough critical praise and fan support to land them on the road touring with the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Black Crowes as well as regular video rotation on MTV. But all this wasn’t enough to translate into significant album sales. At the same time, word was getting around that Starr was developing a reputation for his drug use and subsequent run-ins with the law, reportedly leading to a stint in jail on drug charges forcing the label to drop the band. But all were false claims according to the band, the only reason they were dropped was because of poor record sales. The sudden rise of grunge as well as some internal fighting seemed to be the end of the Four Horsemen, but after some personnel changes, they regrouped and began working on a new album in 1994. But after losing original drummer, Ken “Dimwit” Montgomery, to a drug overdose in September of 1994, the band suffered another serious blow on November of 1995 when Starr was struck by a drunk driver while riding his motorcycle along Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles. He went into a coma and never recovered and eventually died from those injuries on June 18, 1999.


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