Richard E. Aaron/All Posters
Ronnie Van Zant and Gary Rossington grew up together, both as musicians and as people. Many of their hopes and dreams for the future were the same, as they looked forward to decades of making rockin’ music together in Lynyrd Skynyrd. However, those plans were cut short.
After a performance at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium in South Carolina on October 20, 1977, the band’s plane crashed on its way to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Ronnie was killed in the crash, and in an instant all of his dreams for the future were lost.
Gary suffered serious injuries, but recovered, and rejoined the band once it reunited in 1987. He remains with the group to this day, and although he’s been able to carry on Skynyrd’s torch, he can’t help but wonder what the past few years would have been like if Ronnie had been there.
Ronnie would be 68 years old today, and Gary has no doubt that he would still be making music if he had survived. In an interview with the Florida Times-Union, Gary said he had a pretty good idea what else Ronnie would be doing.
“It was his and my dream to one day own a fish camp and lay back, watch the guys come into fish, go out and catch bass anytime we wanted to. That was the way in this life to make it – own a little bitty fish camp.”
Between making music and running a fishing camp, Gary believes that Ronnie would simply be making the most of life. “I think he’d be right there on the front porch, rocking with about 100 dogs, telling stories, still singing and playing,” he said.
Although Ronnie never got to chase his dreams, Gary and the rest of the members of Skynyrd have made sure his legacy will never fade away. You can watch one of Ronnie’s unforgettable performances below.