Classic rock lost an icon 34 years ago today, as Ronnie Van Zant, original frontman of Lynyrd Skynyrd, died in a tragic plane crash that claimed his life and several others. We remember Van Zant at ZLX with this collection of performances from the band’s classic concert at the Oakland Coliseum in Calfornia in 1977, mere months before his death.
One of the last times we’d ever see Ronnie performing live on video. And there’s no better song to send him off with than the band’s most singularly iconic song played live. The solo (most important part, obviously) begins at 7:04, but it’s worth hearing Ronnie’s unmistakable croon to lead into it.
“Sweet Home Alabama”
Any mention of Van Zant and Lynyrd Skynyrd can’t go without mentioning “Sweet Home Alabama” as well, so it’s only fitting to include it here.
“Call Me the Breeze”
Here’s one of the band’s fastest numbers – and also one of its biggest staples on classic rock radio. For a perfect blend of country bounciness and southern rock swagger, look no further.
“Saturday Night Special”
We need songs like “Saturday Night Special” to remind us that Skynyrd were true bad-asses at heart. They played the blues as well as anyone back in the day, and rivaled Led Zeppelin in terms of heaviness.
The song’s name proved tragically too true for Ronnie Van Zant, and his tragic, untimely death did nothing to take away from what he and Skynyrd did for rock and roll in the 1970s. His legacy lives on today, as no southern rock band or singer has come close to matching Skynyrd’s influence.