Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American rock band best known for popularizing the Southern rock genre during the 1970s. Originally formed in 1964 as My Backyard in Jacksonville, Florida, the band was also known by names such as The Noble Five and One Percent, before finally deciding on “Lynyrd Skynyrd” in 1969. The band gained worldwide recognition for its live performances and signature songs “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird”. At the peak of their success, three members died in an airplane crash in 1977, putting an abrupt end to the band’s most popular incarnation. The band has sold 28 million albums in the United States.
The surviving band members reformed in 1987 for a reunion tour with lead vocalist Johnny Van Zant, the younger brother of lead singer and founder Ronnie Van Zant. Lynyrd Skynyrd continues to tour and record with co-founder Gary Rossington, Johnny Van Zant, and guitarist Rickey Medlocke — who first wrote and recorded with the band from 1971 to 1972 (before his return to Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1996). Fellow founding member Larry Junstrom, along with ‘70s members Ed King and Artimus Pyle, remain active in music but no longer tour or record with the band. Drummer Michael Cartellone has recorded and toured with Lynyrd Skynyrd as its core drummer since 1999. Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 13, 2006.