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Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Name-Sake Dies at Age 77

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Leonard Skinner, Lynyrd Skynyrd's name-sake inspiration died at age 77

[lastfm]Lynyrd Skynyrd [/lastfm]will be a band forever remembered for injecting the swampy sounds of southern twang into classic rock. “Freebird” is a rock anthem; “Sweet Home Alabama” will remain a portrait of the South; and yes, we will always and forever “smell that smell”.

Iconic rockers with blissful lyrics, Lynyrd Skynyrd has already made their mark in rock-and-roll history. Even though the musicians have grown old together, they have not grown jaded by fame or fortune. Early this morning, the “flat-topped basketball coach and gym teacher” who went on to become the inspiration for the band’s name passed away, and while the band used to despise him, they issued a beautiful memorial in his name.

Named Leonard Skinner, the high-school gym teached reigned supreme to Gary Rossington and Bob Burns, Lynyrd Skynrd founding members. Notorious for his no-nonsense demeanor, he constantly sent the ruffians to the principal’s office for having long hair. A crime against humanity!

The band was originally named One Percent, but after developing a penchant for trouble and a reputation to follow, the members changed their name to Lynyrd Skynyrd to mock their tormentor teacher.

As years went by, the name stuck and the music flourished. While the band may have had a problem with Coach during their adolescence, Skinner and the band developed a friendly relationship and even invited their old instructor onstage to introduce them at concerts.

Leonard Skinner had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and passed away in his sleep early Monday morning at the age of 77. Gary Rossington posted the following message on the band’s website:

“Coach Skinner had such a profound impact on our youth that ultimately led us to naming the band, which you know as Lynyrd Skynyrd, after him. Looking back, I cannot imagine it any other way. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”

[Borrowed from MusicNews]

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