Sunday, February 01, 2009


Billy Powell. Wow, was there ever a band that had a bigger black cloud follow it around more than Lynyrd Skynyrd? Of the original guys and replacements, a number of them have died. That includes Hughie Thomasson, original member of The Outlaws (who, in their own right has had their share of deaths). Gary Rossington is the only orignal member left (Atimus Pyle didn't join until later on and he's in prison). Billy had heart trouble and had an appointment with his doctor the day he died. He was found dead with the telephone in his hand, calling 911. Billy was last heard on Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" that was all over the radio earlier this year. Many say it was the three guitar solo on "Free Bird" that established it's place in rock and roll. To me, it was the opening sad keyboard provided by Billy that set the tone for that song. What would "Sweet Home Alabama" be without Billy? He gave his life over to Christ later in his career so, to the believers, he's in a much better place. Dead at 56. Done way too soon.

Here's a one minute ten second clip that shows how he made the song his own.

John Updike, writer, novelist, poet and cartoonist. His "Rabbit, Run" started me along a path that followed me throughout my life. His writings were rich and filled with a great usage of words to paint a picture. I always wanted to write like him and hoped someday I would. This house is full of John Updike's works. He seemed to be a friend who I could count on. He also peened the "Witches of Eastwick". A two pack a day smoker, he died of lung cancer at the age of 78. I am going to go back and re-introduce myself to Rabbit.


dr sardonicus said...

Sad to hear of Billy Powell's passing. But that's not Powell you hear on the organ intro of the studio version of "Free Bird"; that's Al Kooper, using his Roosevelt Gook psuedonym. Powell of course is playing the piano on the live version. Other great Billy Powell moments are his solos on "Call Me The Breeze" and "T For Texas".

Though he's not really an original member of Skynyrd, Ed King is still hanging on, despite having heart problems for a number of years. Yet another Nashville musical migrant, King describes himself these days as "happily retired".

RR said...

Absolutely correct, dr. I stand corrected. Still, Billy contributed so much to that band. Ed King, who was in the Strawberry Alarm Clock, is pretty much an original member, being on the first release and all. Sad to hear of another band member down.
Always look forward to your comments.

Blog Archive