Tammy Michelle VanZant Myspace
In 1976, Lynyrd Skynyrd dominated the world of rock music with their many powerful hits, including “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama.” All of the group’s success helped to fuel their visions for the future, as they looked forward to cranking out new music.
Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant was particularly hopeful about what the future had in store for Skynyrd. As Ronnie shared in an interview with radio DJ Jim Ladd, he wanted to focus on writing so Skynyrd could release a new album in the next year.
“We think it’d be better off for the band if we just took more time and really got into our writing a lot more,” he said, before he added, “I would like to do more ‘Free Birds,’ but it takes time to do that.“
Ronnie spoke about a retreat he had planned with some of the band members so they could spend time writing the best possible songs for their next album.
That album went on to become Street Survivors, which was released on October 17, 1977…three days before Ronnie was killed in a devastating plane crash which also claimed the lives of band members Steve and Cassie Gaines.
Although Ronnie was able to see Street Survivor‘s release, he never had the chance to live out the rest of his musical dreams. Still, as Ronnie shared with Jim during what is likely one of his final interviews, he couldn’t have been happier with his life and Skynyrd’s career:
“I’m probably more happy now than I ever have been, for several reasons First, the success of the band has, after all those years, the twelve years Gary [Rossington], and I, and Allen [Collins] have been together, have finally paid off. And just something that you believed in, that you could do it, you know, if there was a will there was a way. That fact that we proved it, that really makes me happy. And also being married, my wife just had a child…a little girl, and that makes a house a home. Just everything seems to be going pretty good for me right now.”
You can listen to Ronnie at his absolute happiest in the clip below.
Although Ronnie is not with us any longer, his hopes for Skynyrd live on through the current incarnation of the band, which ensures that his legacy will last.