Lynyrd Skynyrd

Jean Oshima
2 min readMar 16, 2023

With the recent passing of guitarist Gary Rossington, the last surviving original member of the Lynyrd Skynyrd band, my memory was sparked into thinking about one of a handful of 5 Heart concert experiences in my life. I’ve seen almost everyone I’ve wanted to see, 300+ concerts, so to say Lynyrd Skynyrd is in the top 3, should give you and idea of how completely blown away I was by this band.

I was raised by a pretty strict father and being the first-born girl in a family of 11, it would be an understatement to say he was harder on me than my three sisters. They would all agree, and as a matter of fact, the second oldest has thanked me multiple times for being born first. Which makes me laugh every time. So when I asked if I could go to the Lynyrd Skynyrd concernt with a friend that was raised very differently than me by musician parents, I was shocked I was allowed to go.

The day before the concert, my friend asked me to go with her to the band’s meet-and-greet at the local mall so she could get her album signed. What a trip that was! My friend was an actress is not shy, to say the least. So we waited in a very long line and when our turn came to meet Ronnie Van Zant, my friend asked him for a kiss, to which Ronnie replied with a tip of his cowboy hat, “Sure little lady!” I kid you not.

We went to the concert the next day and I along with every single person in the auditorium danced the entire time. “Free Bird” remains my all-time favorite live performance of any one song. The place was crazy with an energy I have not experienced before or since.

Tragically, Ronnie, along with members of their team, was killed in a plane crash just two days later. Other band members were seriously injured. My brother, a HUGE Skynyrd fan, cried for weeks. (He has a guitar signed by the entire band that he won on the radio as a promotion when they came to town for the concert. Can’t even imagine what it’s worth. Lynyrd Skynyrd fans, till this day, are diehard!)

As a funny-not-so-funny story about Lynyrd Skynyrd, I once got stung in the tongue while riding my bike and singing “Sweet Home Alabama”. I love their music but I have never attended one of their concerts after the plane crash. They went on to be quite successful. But I am certain anyone would agree, never the same with out their sweet gentleman and original frontman, Ronnie.

Originally published at JEAN OSHIMA.



Jean Oshima

See my blog, 5 Heart Rating at I am a Wellness & Wine and Special Events Producer