Lynyrd Skynyrd ( LEN-ərd SKIN-ərd) is an American rock band best known for popularizing the Southern rock genre during the 1970s with songs such as "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Free Bird". It formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1964 under the name My Backyard with original members Ronnie Van Zant (vocals), Gary Rossington (guitar), Allen Collins (guitar), Larry Junstrom (bass guitar) and Bob Burns (drums). The band spent five years touring small venues under a variety of different names and with several lineup changes before finally deciding on "Lynyrd Skynyrd" in 1969. The band released their first album in 1973, having settled on a lineup that included bassist Leon Wilkeson and former Strawberry Alarm Clock guitarist Ed King. Burns would later be replaced by Artimus Pyle and King by Steve Gaines. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and backup singer Cassie Gaines were killed in an airplane crash on October 20, 1977, putting an abrupt end to the 1970s era of the band.
The band re-formed in 1987 for a reunion tour with Ronnie's brother, Johnny Van Zant, as its lead vocalist. Lynyrd Skynyrd continues to tour and record with co-founder Gary Rossington (being the band's sole continuous member), Johnny Van Zant, and Rickey Medlocke, who first wrote and recorded with the band from 1971 to 1972 before his return in 1996.
Lynyrd Skynyrd has sold 28 million records in the United States. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 13, 2006. In January 2018, Lynyrd Skynyrd announced their farewell tour, and are also working on a final studio album.