Thursday, August 23, 2018

Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Ed King dead at 68

Former Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Ed King died on August 22 at the age of 68.

“It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of Ed King who died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee,” read the statement released on the guitarist’s Facebook page. “We thank his many friends and fans for their love and support of Ed during his life and career.”

While the cause of King’s death has not been revealed, recent media reports out of Nashville indicate the rocker was battling lung cancer and had been hospitalized for the disease.

“I’ve just found out about Ed’s passing and I’m shocked and saddened,” says lone original active Skynyrd member Gary Rossington. “Ed was our brother, and a great songwriter and guitar player. I know he will be reunited with the rest of the boys in Rock and Roll Heaven. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sharon and his family.”

Before teaming up with Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1972, King was a member of the Los Angeles psychedelic rock band Strawberry Alarm Clock, who had a US No. 1 hit in 1967 with “Incense And Peppermints.”

The two acts crossed paths on the road in 1968, with King reportedly offering his services to the Jacksonville, FL group; the Southern rockers brought him into the fold in 1972 to play bass following what turned out to be a brief departure by Leon Wilkeson, with King moving to guitar upon Wilkeson’s return.

King, Rossington and Allen Collins presented a triple-lead guitar package that helped define Skynyrd’s sound. King appeared on the group’s first three albums – 1973’s “(Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd)”, 1974’s “Second Helping” and 1975’s “Nuthin’ Fancy” – while earning songwriting credits for a handful of tracks, including “Saturday Night Special”, “Swamp Music”, “Workin’ For MCA” and the band’s signature 1974 classic, “Sweet Home Alabama.”

Citing tour exhaustion and a falling out with frontman Ronnie Van Zant on the road in 1975, King quit the lineup and was replaced the following year with Steve Gaines – who, along with Van Zant and backup singer and sister Cassie Gaines were killed in Skynyrd’s infamous October 1977 plane crash near Gillsburg, MS that also claimed the lives of the pilot, co-pilot and the group's assistant road-manager.

A decade-long hiatus ended in 1987 when five of the band’s members regrouped for a reunion tour that eventually saw the band return to regular live action and a trio of album releases, including a 1991 self-titled set, 1993’s “The Last Rebel” and 1994’s “Endangered Species.”

King was forced to leave Skynyrd in 1996 due to congestive heart failure; he was among the band’s members inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2006.

Lynyrd Skynyrd are currently playing shows on The Last Of The Street Survivors Farewell Tour, with US dates scheduled into December.

See also:

Lynyrd Skynyrd announce Live In Atlantic City release
Lynyrd Skynyrd documentary to premiere on Showtime
Lynyrd Skynyrd extend farewell tour
VIDEO: Lynyrd Skynyrd launch farewell tour in Florida
Search Lynyrd Skynyrd at hennemusic