Steve Gaines lugged a type of magic come Lynyrd Skynyrd the no other member quite had… “He was a good songwriter and also singer—and an incredible guitarist. I’ve never heard anybody, including any of us, beat his picking part quite right.” Gary Rossington on Gaines and the track “I know A Little.”

Who to be Steve Gaines?

Steven Earl Gaines to be born top top the 14th the September in 1949 in Miami, Oklahoma. He passed away tragically ~ above the 20th of October in 1977. The is widely well-known as the vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter that Lynyrd Skynyrd indigenous 1976 come October 1977. Cassie Gaines, the band’s backup vocalist, was his older sister.

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Steve Gaines and also Lynyrd Skynyrd posing for a trade advertisement because that the solitary “What’s your Name” (1977).

In 1964, as soon as he was simply fifteen, that went to see the Beatles live in concert in Kansas City. As his family members returned back home, the pleaded v his father until he bought him his own guitar. Soon after, he had actually started his first high college band, The Ravens.

Later on, Steve Gaines formed a band dubbed Manalive. The group finished up record at the famous Sun documents Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. Whilst in Manalive, Gaines to be playing through his well known Les Paul black color Beauty, which according to friends never left his side.

Sammie Ketcher, a member of 2 of Gaines’ at an early stage bands recalls. “There’s no telling what he would have emerged cause he preserved progressing. Anytime you witnessed him, that was constantly playing the guitar.”

The band finished up recording a solitary for Stax records in 1971. Yet their greatest accomplishment was playing a display in Memphis v ZZ Top.

Throughout the 1970s, Steve Gaines play in bands such as ILMO Smokehouse from Quincy, Il, and also Detroit. However, he had actually his own vision and in 1974 formed his own band, Crawdad. In 1975, the band tape-recorded at the significant southern rock hub, Capricorn Studios in Macon, Georgia.

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In 1988, MCA documents released the recordings native the conference under the album titled One in the Sun. It to be Steve Gaines’s just solo album. Apart from this, Gaines had a compilation album of live recordings through Manalive and Crawdad released on CD in 2001 called I understand A Little… Live. In addition to another compilation of live recordings with Detroit and also Crawdad released together a CD title Okie Special.

A exceptional singer and guitarist, Gaines might have had actually his initial incentive from the Beatles. But as the year passed, the songs and also sounds the Steve Cropper and also Muscle Shoals Sound Studio offered as his influence.

Steve Gaines – Lynyrd Skynyrd

In December of 1975, Cassie Gaines, Steve’s larger sister, was inducted right into Lynyrd Skynyrd’s The Honkettes, a group of mrs singers that sang backup vocals because that the band. In ~ the time, the tape was in need of a brand-new guitarist to change the position of Ed King that departed native the band in the center of 1975.

Cassie began suggesting her brothers for the role, yet the band had hesitations. Finally, on may 11, 1976, they gave Steve Gaines a chance. He join the tape for your performance of “T-For Texas, (Blue Yodel #1)” through Jimmie Rodgers in Kansas City, Missouri at the Municipal Auditorium.

Prior to the show, members that the band told the sound technician that, “Cassie’s brothers is going come come up and also play v us, if the does not have the level, unplug him.”

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It was difficult for the band to hear Gaines playing onstage amid the distortions and sounds. However, Kevin Elson, the sound technician, had been hear intently through headphones. He report to the band the the new guy (Gaines) was remarkable.

Two weeks later, Steve Gaines obtained a phone speak to from Ronnie valve Zant inviting him to join the band. Initially, the tape members go not intend a lot native Gaines. Yet he soon showed his worth and his career therefore took off. Gaines, together with Allen Collins and Gary Rossington (who later formed the Rossington Collins Band), came with each other for what is maybe the finest guitar trio in rock music.

A few months later, Gaines was invited to sign up with the band for the production of their live album, One an ext from the Road. The an initial of the three shows recorded for the album was only Gaines’ 3rd time playing v the band.

The ‘Gaines Effect’ shook the world when he join the band throughout their legendary performance at Knebworth Festival in 1976. It was a Lynyrd Skynyrd that hadn’t been watched before, punch the roll Stones the end of the water. V an audience of approximately 150,000 and also 200,000 people, Lynyrd Skynyrd yielded a performance that took the southerly rock artists to brand-new heights.

Gaines’ skill with the guitar and his talent in writing lyrics strengthened the tape in the recording studio and on stage. This was reflected in his single studio album through the band, Street Survivors (1977). Videotaped in the renowned Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, Gaines added four original compositions, 2 singles of his own, and also two in cooperation with van Zant. The pair mutual vocals on the song “You obtained That Right.”

He was the lead vocal in the track “Ain’t No good Life.” but it’s songs favor “That Smell,” “I understand A Little” (written before he joined Skynyrd), and also “Honky Tonk Night Time Man” wherein he displays his impressive guitar playing. The tape released the album ~ above October 17, 1977, soon coming to be gold certified.

Van Zant openly expose his awe and admiration for Steve Gaines, even predicting that the other band members would certainly “all it is in in his zero one day.”

After the release of the album, the band and also Gaines seemed to be entering a new and boosted era musically. His capability in rock, blues, and country music, and his desire come widen his scope and vision, may have led to far-reaching pieces of work in the future.

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He looked at life and also music in a confident way, never taking his success because that granted. This confident aura and also thriving energy are not just visible in his songs, yet is likewise reflected in his band members who he lugged a feeling of unit to as well as new levels that creativity and inspiration.

Van Zant himself realized the Steve Gaines to be bringing about a rebirth of the band. In a conversation with Gene Odom, the band’s defense manager, van Zant called him, “that Steve Gaines is the finest thing to ever happen come this band.”

Steve Gaines – Death

On October 13, 1977, the tape departed top top a tour in your old aircraft to support and also promote their new album. A airplane that had troubles the vault year. ~ above October 19, lock performed a concert in Greenville, the last tune they performed being “Free Bird.”

Three days after the release of Street Survivors and five days into their highest possible selling tour, a tragedy happened. ~ above October 20, 1977, the band and also the crew members were flying indigenous Greenville, southern Carolina to Baton Rouge, Louisiana as soon as their plane crashed outside of Gillsburg in Mississippi.

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Both Cassie and Steve Gaines lost their stays in the crash as well as Ronnie van Zant. Assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, the pilot, and also co-pilot Walter McCreary and also William Gray likewise died.

After the crash, the Street Survivors album cover had actually to be replaced as it was as well tragic to check out Steve Gaines in the center of the picture surrounded through fire with his eye shut.

The band’s bassist, Leon Wilkeson, was one of the survivors that the aircraft crash. Throughout surgery, it was stated that his heart stopped beating twice. ~ recovering, Leon revealed that he had been sit on a cloud v Ronnie van Zant and Duane Allman. Follow to his story, valve Zant had actually told the to acquire himself the end of there together it was no his time yet.


In 1977, the body of Steve Gaines was cremated and his ashes hidden in Orange Park, Florida. However, they had to relocate it come a new location after ~ his and Van Zant’s tombs were damaged into.

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In 1988, MCA documents released the recordings Steve Gaines had actually made with John Ryan (producer) in the album titled One in the Sun. After thirteen long years of lie dormant in the vault, the recordings became a testimony come Gaines’ talent and also short however impactful career.

In 2001, Steve Gaines was additional penned down in the history of music when the band, Drive-By Truckers, created the tune “Cassie’s Brother” around him.

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Like van Zant had forecasted the the band would be under the zero of Gaines one day, the is sad us never acquired to experience it. But for the year and also a fifty percent he played with Lynyrd Skynyrd, they were merely untouchable.