1964 Ronnie Van Zant hits a line drive that strikes Bob Burns in the head, who was watching the game with Gary Rossington. Burns is knocked unconscious but the three became friends and have a common interest in music. They soon form a band along with Allen Collins and LarryJunstrom. That fall 'The Noble Five' plays their first gig for $10.
1965 The core of Lynyrd Skynyrd- singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Gary Rossington, guitarist Allen Collins, bassist Leon Wilkeson, and drummer Bob Burns- is formed at a high school in Jacksonville, FL, initially as the group, 'My Backyard.' The name is later changed to Lynyrd Skynyrd to immortalize school gym teacher Leonard Skinner, a legendary antagonist of longhaired students. Ronnie Van Zant enters into a brief marriage with Nadine.
1966 Ronnie and Nadine's daughter, Tammy Michelle is born.
1968 Lynyrd Skynyrd records “Michelle” and “Need All My Friends.” The latter is released as their debut single on Shade Tree Records, a label based in their hometown.
1969 Lynyrd Skynyrd wins a battle of the bands contest in Hemming Park located in Jacksonville, FL. Lacy Van Zant (Ronnie's father) drives the band to Atlanta to record two songs as the prize. They record “Spoonful” and “Michelle.” Lacy also gives them $120 for a Bogan PA for vocals.
1970 Allen Collins marries Kathy Johns. The band starts rehearsing at Hell House. By this time all the members have dropped out of Robert E. Lee High School. Before a gig at Jay's Forest Inn, Ronnie Van Zant introduces the band as Leonard Skinner, a high school gym teacher who tormented them for their long hair. They later change the spelling to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Roadie Billy Powell joins the band as keyboardist. The band asks to be let out of their contract with Shade Tree Records.
1971 Bob Burns leaves the band and is replaced by Rickey Medlocke. In January Lynyrd Skynyrd record their demo album at Quinvy Studios in Muscle Shoals. Larry Junstrom leaves the band.
1972 On November 18th Ronnie Van Zant marries Judy Seymour Rickey Medlocke leaves the band and Bob Burns returns. Leon Wilkeson replaces Larry Junstrom.
1973 The debut album Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd is released and goes Gold. The album features the instant classics “Freebird,” “Simple Man,” “Tuesday’s Gone” and “Gimme Three Steps.” In November they open for The Who on their 'Quadrophenia' tour. At Funochios, an Atlanta club, Al Kooper notices Lynyrd Skynyrd and signs them to his Sounds Of The South label. Rickey Medlocke rejoins the band giving them two drummers, but leaves the band soon after. Leon Wilkeson leaves the band but soon rejoins. Ed King joins the band as bass player but later switches to guitar.
1974 The band releases their second effort, Second Helping, which spawns their first charting U.S. single “Sweet Home Alabama.” The song is seen as a southerner's response to Neil Young's 1971 song “Southern Man.” The single reaches #8 on the charts, with the album itself hitting #12, earning the band yet another Gold disc.
1975 The band releases their third album, Nuthin’ Fancy, and it goes Gold. The single from the album is “Saturday Night Special.” “Freebird” is re-released as a single, and garners notable national airplay, reaching the Top 20 in the charts. The band embarks on 'The Torture Tour.' Bob Burns leaves the band. Ed King leaves the band. Artimus Pyle joins the band. The Honkettes, comprised of Leslie Hawkins, JoJo Billingsley and Cassie Gaines become a part of the band. The band tours the UK for the first time in support of the group Golden Earring.
1976 In September, Gary Rossington is injured in a car accident in Jacksonville, which inspires “That Smell.” Steve Gaines joins the band. The new effort, Gimme Back My Bullets- produced by Tom Dowd- will reach Top 20 and become the band's fourth consecutive Gold record. One More For The Road release becomes the group's largest-selling album of their career thus far with over 1 million copies sold. The live version of “Freebird” will once again chart. The response in the UK is such that the band will perform alongside the Rolling Stones, amongst others, at the Knebworth Festival. The band tours with The Rolling Stones.
1977 Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins present a Platinum album awarded them for One More For The Road to the Mayor of Atlanta, in appreciation of the band's Atlanta fans. Another album would be presented to the Fox Theatre in Atlanta where the album was recorded. Street Survivors, the band's second Platinum selling record is released. On October 20th, tragedy would strike the band as Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines (Steve's sister and one of Skynyrd's back-up singers), and road manager Dean Kilpatrick are killed when the band's rented plane (short on fuel) crashes into a swamp in Gillsburg, Mississippi, while en route to a gig at Louisiana University. Rossington, Collins, Powell, Wilkeson and Leslie Hawkins, are all seriously injured but survive the crash. Out of courtesy and good judgment MCA Records withdraws the sleeve of the just released album Street Survivors, which pictures the group standing in flames. The album will become the band's second Platinum selling album, reaching #5 on the U.S. album chart.
1978 The single, “What's Your Name,” from the album Street Survivors escalates up the charts to the #13 position, while another single, “You Got That Right” follows suit by also charting. The band will release another album; Skynyrd's First and Last, which is comprised of previously unreleased recordings from 1970-1972. It will also go Platinum, marking the third consecutive album to do so for the band.
1979 MCA releases a double compilation album Gold and Platinum. Surviving members of the band, with the exception of Artimus Pyle, form the Rossington-Collins Band, fronted by Dale Krantz.
1980 The debut album by the Rossington-Collins band, Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere will feature the single “Don't Misunderstand Me,” and will achieve gold status. Lynyrd Skynyrd's double compilation, Gold and Platinum ascends into the Top 15 and also becomes double Platinum. This will total four consecutive Platinum albums for the band. Allen Collins' wife Kathy dies.
1981 The Rossington-Collins Band releases their second album, This Is The Way, which is dedicated to Allen Collin's wife, Kathy, who died a year earlier. Although garnering considerable acclaim the album will be the last by the band.
1982 Gary Rossington and Dale Krantz marry in July. In December, Lynyrd Skynyrd release Best Of The Rest, a compilation of rare tracks and outtakes.
1984 The remaining members of The Rossington-Collins Band begin planning a band of their own which becomes the Allen Collins Band.
1986 Gary and Dale Rossington form a band called Rossington. Their album Returned To The Scene Of The Crime is released on Atlantic Records. Allen Collins runs his car off the road in a crash that will leave him paralyzed from the waist down. The crash took the life of his girlfriend.
1987 MCA Records would release the album Legend. The compilation-produced by Tom Dowd- will contain previous B-sides, as well as unreleased and uncompleted songs by the original Lynyrd Skynyrd. A new Lynyrd Skynyrd is formed in September comprised of Rossington, Powell, Pyle, Wilkeson, King, Johnny Van Zant (vocals), Randall Hall (a long-time friend of the band and member of The Allen Collins Band), along with Dale Krantz Rossington and Carol Bristow on background vocals. The band makes their first public appearance at the Charlie Daniel's Volunteer Jam XIII and will eventually perform more than 30 dates on a reunion tour, marking the tenth anniversary of the fatal plane crash.
1988 Southern By Grace Of God, a double live album featuring tracks recorded on the recent tour, would be released on MCA Records.
1989 MCA releases a Lynyrd Skynyrd greatest hits package titled Skynyrds Innyrds.
1990 Allen Collins dies of respiratory failure caused by pneumonia, a complication of his paralysis.
1991 The band releases Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991 marking their return to the recording studio, the first new material in over 14 years. Again produced by Tom Dowd, it left no doubt that one of rock and rolls greatest bands was back with a vengeance. It featured the tracks, “Smokestack Lightning,” “Keeping The Faith,” “Southern Women” and “Pure and Simple.”
1992 Artimus Pyle leaves the band, citing personal differences.
1993 Atlantic Records releases the album, Last Rebel, which comes out twenty years after their first album. Kurt Custer joins the band as drummer. Leon's good friend and former bassist of The Rossington Band, Timmy Lindsey, stood in for Leon from June thru the end of that year, during the Last Rebel Tour. Leon was unable to be with the band for health reasons during that time.
1994 Lynyrd Skynyrd releases their first completely acoustic album, Endangered Species, on Capricorn Records.
1995 Ed King becomes ill with congestive heart failure and leaves the band. Freebird: The Movie premieres in Atlanta.
1996 The band signs a multi-album agreement with CMC International Records. Rickey Medlocke of Blackfoot rejoins the band, this time as guitarist. Hughie Thomasson of the Outlaws is also added as guitarist.
1997 Twenty, the debut for CMC, is released on April 29th to be followed by a world tour.
1998 Johnny Van Zant teams up with brother Donnie Van Zant of .38 Special for Brother to Brother, a long awaited collaboration of these two surviving members of one of American rock's royal families. CMC Records releases Lyve From Steeltown a double CD of newly recorded Skynyrd classics and recent Skynyrd hits along with its accompanying home video. The enhanced CD includes interviews as well as music, an extra bonus for their fans. Michale Cartellone replaces Owen Hale as drummer.
1999 Edge of Forever (CMC) and 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Lynyrd Skynyrd (MCA) are released. Lynyrd Skynyrd hit the road for the summer on the heels of the past summer's hugely successful tour. The band ends the 20th century on a national tour with ZZ Top.
2000 Then And Now (CMC) is released. Lynyrd Skynyrd headlines a summer tour as well as embarking on their first European tour in three and a half years. Their first Christmas album, Christmas Time Again (CMC), is completed in July and hit the stores in November.
2001 Lynyrd Skynyrd hit the road again on a North American tour with Deep Purple and Ted Nugent. On July 27th, bassist Leon Wilkeson passes away in his sleep in a hotel room near Jacksonville, FL. Ean Evans, a long time friend of the band, joins as the new bass player. RIAA certifies that the band has sold more than 23 million records.
2002 CMC Records International (now Sanctuary Records) releases Turn It Up, a compilation of Lynyrd Skynyrd tunes.
2003 Lynyrd Skynyrd celebrates their 30th anniversary by releasing Vicious Cycle (Sanctuary) on May 6th, their first studio album in three years. Gibson Custom Art and Historic Division release the Limited Edition Gary Rossington Les Paul guitar. UTV Records releases the compilation, Thyrty.
2004 The band tours heavily to celebrate 30 years of hard rockin'. Lynyrd Skynyrd LYVE: The Vicious Cycle Tour is released by Sanctuary. Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers Band join forces for the first time to co-headline 10 shows. In August of 2004 Lacy Van Zant, often referred to as the 'Father Of Southern Rock,' passes away at the age of 89.
2006 The band is inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame! Mark "Sparky" Matejka, formerly of the country music band Hot Apple Pie, joined Lynyrd Skynyrd in 2006. Lynyrd Skynyrd perform "Sweet Home Alabama" at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards with Dickey Betts, Tim McGraw, and Gretchen Wilson as part of a tribute to Southern Rock.
2007 On September 9, former Skynyrd guitarist Hughie Thomasson died of a heart attack at his home in Florida. On November 2, the band performed at Gator Growl, the world's largest student-run pep rally, in Ben Hill Griffen Stadium- also known as "The Swamp."
2008 The band joins a star-studded line up as a very special guest at VH1’s Fashion Rock. In July the band plays to their largest crowd to date at Bama Jam in Enterprise, Alabama where more than 111,000 people were in attendance. Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kid Rock co-headline the inagural Rock & Rebels Tour.
2009 Lynyrd Skynyrd sign a worldwide deal with Loud & Proud/Roadrunner Records! The band gears up to release their first set of new studio material since 2003’s Vicious Cycle this fall. On January 28, 2009, longtime keyboardist Billy Powell died at age 56 at his home near Jacksonville, Florida. Once again, Lynyrd Skynyrd will join their pal Kid Rock on the second annual Rock & Rebels Tour.
2012 Loud & Proud/Roadrunner Records announce the release of Last Of A Dyin’ Breed, the band’s first studio album since the September 29, 2009 release of God & Guns which debuted at #18 on the Billboard Top 20 and gave the band their highest debut since 1977. Last Of A Dying Breed reunites the band with producer Bob Marlettewho produced God & Guns. Joining Lynyrd Skynyrd for the new recording will be bass player Johnny Colt, an original member of the Black Crowes who has also played with Train and Rockstar Supernova.