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From a young age, Leon Wilkeson was known as one of the greatest bass players in the city of Jacksonville. His reputation earned him a spot in what would go on to become one of the most legendary groups in rock history…Lynyrd Skynyrd.
After the plane crash of 1977, Leon joined the band yet again once they reunited in 1987. He remained with the group until he unexpectedly passed away in 2001.
Leon’s passing left a huge hole in the hearts of his bandmates. Since Leon was known for wearing crazy hats on stage, Skynyrd dedicated a song called “Mad Hatter” to him on their 2003 album, Vicious Cycle, the first album released after his death.
Even though Leon is gone, he continues to live on as a part of Skynyrd’s rich musical history. He also lives on through the few interviews he participated in over the years, including one short clip in which he shared his greatest words of wisdom.
While driving down a country road, Leon disclosed his best advice to the young people who admired him. “I’d like to encourage kids not to be afraid, to be invisible,” he said. “I will tell ’em, stick with what you’re naturally gifted with. That’s very important.”
But there was one particular young person that Leon wanted to accomplish great things in life…his son, Lee.
“I’d like to be able to be assured that my little boy, whatever he’s gonna grow up and be like, he’s gonna have a happy ‘Star Wars’ ending, happily ever after ya know?” he said. “May the force always be there.”
Listen closely to the clip below as Leon shares his words of advice. He was truly one in a million, and we’re sure his Skynyrd bandmates continue to miss him dearly.
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