Through Struggle and Strife, The Music Still Plays On
The years after the crash would be difficult in its own right for surviving members, most of which would experience tragedy and early death themselves. Allen Collins kept moving on, eventually getting together with Gary Rossington to form the Rossington Collins Band. The band would be marked for strife as just before their inaugural tour, Allen’s wife would bleed to death due to a miscarriage. In 1982 he would form the Allen Collins band but shortly after would wreck his new Ford Thunderbird, killing his then girlfriend and paralyzing Collins. He would eventually succumb to paralytic pneumonia while being treated in a hospital in 1990.
Leon Wilkeson and Billy Powell would both go on to pursue other musical ventures and both have a hand in several Lynyrd Skynyrd re-boots. Wilkeson would play in both Rossington Collins Band and the Allen Collins band. His luck, however, was on the short end of the stick as he would have his throat slit while on the Lynyrd Skynyrd tour bus in the early ’90s. It was rumored that it was Ed King’s (original guitar player for Lynyrd Skynyrd) wife but it was not confirmed. Wilkeson would eventually be found dead in a hotel room in 2001 at age 49. Natural causes were to blame. Billy Powell would be in the new starting line-up of Lynyrd Skynyrd until his death in 2009. He suffered a heart attack while on break from tour.
Artimus Pyle and Gary Rossington are the only two members alive today from the crash. Artimus has had many up’s and downs since then, several incarcerations, and a huge falling out with Gary. He had already finished a film about the plane crash when Gary and several others stepped in and placed a lawsuit against the film to not be shown to the public. Gary continues on the band with Ronnie’s brother, Johnny Van Zant, and guitarist Ricky Medlocke. The band regularly has different people sit in and play shows with them like Warren Haynes and Dicky Betts.
Where Did We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:
More from Tragic Plane Crash: