RIP, Ed King, Lynyrd Skynyrd Guitarist

If you were to ask me who I think is the greatest band of all time, it would probably be a tie between Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

And today we got the sad news that Lynyrd Skynyrd's "third guitarist", Ed King, passed away at the age of 68. Ed is the voice you hear at the beginning of 'Sweet Home Alabama' counting off the "1, 2, 3, 4". He also co-wrote that song.

But to me, where he stood out was when he added that third guitar to the Skynyrd lineup, harmonizing perfectly with Gary Rossington and Allen Collins. Those men made some superb music together.

I'm glad I got to interview Ed King on the air many years ago. It was probably in the late 90s when I was working for a classic rock station. I had always wanted to interview every member of Lynyrd Skynyrd that survived the plane crash in '77 as well.

By the way, "If I Leave Here Tomorrow", a documentary about Lynyrd Skynyrd, will be released soon. And I can't wait to see it. Rolling Stone magazine did a nice article about it, and even dropped a tidbit that I didn't know about: baseball brought the band together for the first time. Here's that paragraph from their article:

"The band owes its formation to an errant line drive hit by Ronnie Van Zant. As a member of the Green Pigs baseball team in Jacksonville, Florida, Van Zant nearly killed drummer Bob Burns with a hard hit baseball to the temple or the back, depending on who’s telling the story. “It caught me behind the shoulder blades and took out every breath I ever had my whole life,” says Burns, who died in 2015, in archival footage. Newly introduced to Burns, Van Zant, with guitarists Gary Rossington and Allen Collins, assembled that afternoon at Burns’ carport and jammed to the Rolling Stones’ “Time Is on My Side.”"

Jason Taylor

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