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Billy Powell Dies of Heart Attack

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posted on Jan, 28 2009 @ 05:58 PM

Lynyrd Skynyrd keyboardist Billy Powell died Wednesday morning (Jan. 28) at his condo in Orange Park, Fla., near Jacksonville, of an apparent heart attack.

Law enforcement authorities said the musician called 911 around 12:55 a.m. to report that he was having trouble breathing. Paramedics performed CPR, but Powell was pronounced dead shortly before 2 a.m. He had reportedly failed to show up Tuesday (Jan. 27) for an appointment with a heart specialist to undergo a cardiac evaluation.

In what has always been considered a guitar-based band, Powell's distinctive piano work helped define Lynyrd Skynyrd's sound and Southern rock, in general.

Well, we've lost another member of the legendary band Lynyrd Skynyrd. Billy Powell joined the band in 1970, after working for them as a roadie. He survived the plane crash that killed three other members of the band and their road manager in 1977. One wonders if he could have lived if he had gone to see his doctor. We'll never know. RIP Billy Powell... :-(

posted on Jan, 29 2009 @ 12:19 PM
I just heard about this.

Skynyrd was a major influence on me in my youth. They are my favorite band of all time, and in my opinion, encompassed some of the best and brightest musical talent America has offered to date.

I was lucky enough to attend a few concerts, including one by Rossington-Collins Band (an alter-ego that surfaced after the plane crash, for those not familiar with their history). I watched that man with the magic fingers grooving to the beat in the background, letting his music speak more than his face. And speak it did, supporting that three-guitar-attack just as much as the drums and Leon's bass.

I will miss him, indeed. Skynyrd will hopefully go on, but as after the plane crash, it can never be quite the same.

RIP Billy. And thank you.


PS: I thought it might be appropriate to list the early founders of Skynyrd and where they are now (as much as I know anyway):
  • Billy Powell - keyboards - RIP
  • Ronnie VanZant - vocalist - died in the plane crash in 1977. Now replaced by his younger brother Johnny.
  • Allen Collins - guitarist - died a few years back of natural causes. The originator of that awesome rift Skynyrd is so well known for.
  • Gary Rossington - guitarist - still strokin' that instrument and chirpin' away on Free Bird (yes, that is him doing the bird chirps with a guitar and a glass slide).

  • Ed King - Although I think he's still alive, he quit the band in the early years after an argument with Ronnie. He rejoined after the band reformed with Johnny, but quit again. IMHO, the best guitarist out of the three, and considering who we're talking about, that's a major deal.
  • Bob Burns - drummer - left shortly after the band made it big. No idea where he is.
  • Leon Wilkerson - bassist - last I heard, still standing behind that big bass wearing a funky hat and grinning like a coon in a chicken house.
  • Ricky Medlock - singer, guitarist - was originally a member, but Rick has a bad temper and didn't last very long. Still, his early work in the band left a lasting mark (anybody remember the song "White Dove"? That was Rick). He went on to found the group Blackfoot, and after their dissolution returned to Skynyrd. Still playing.

    Now, if everyone will excuse me, I need to hear "The Last Rebel" for some reason...

posted on Jan, 29 2009 @ 03:37 PM
RIP Billy. We play lots of LS at our shows and you will be remembered from our bandstand and probably from bandstands across the nation.
Thank you Billy for helping create the Southern Rock sound that is the staple of Bar bands world wide.

When the yahoo's in the audience yell "Freebird" we play "Freebird"!! I hope we do it justice.

[edit on 29-1-2009 by whaaa]

posted on Jan, 30 2009 @ 05:30 PM
Yeah, Skynyrd has one of the most recognizable sounds in music. Everyone knows Sweet Home Alabama, no matter what kind of music you're into. I'm sort of surprised there aren't more fans here. I thought there would be.

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