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Gary Rossington

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Gary Robert Rossington (born December 4, 1951 in Jacksonville, Florida, USA) is a founding member of Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. He plays lead and rhythm guitar. He is also a founding member of the Rossington Collins Band along with former Lynyrd Skynyrd bandmate Allen Collins.

Rossington formed the band as a teenager with friends Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, Larry Junstrom and Bob Burns in the summer of 1964. Skynyrd gained national exposure starting in 1973 with the release of their first album (pronounced ‘lĕh-‘nérd ‘skin-‘nérd) and hit single “Free Bird”.

Rossington’s instrument of choice was a ‘59 Gibson Les Paul that he purchased from a woman whose boyfriend had left her and left behind his guitar. He named it “Berneice” in honor of his mother who he was very close to. Rossington has yielded many memorable guitar parts, including the lead work on “Tuesday’s Gone” and the slide guitar for “Free Bird”. Along with Collins, Rossington also provided the guitar work for the popular “Simple Man”.
On Labor Day weekend of 1976, Gary Rossington and fellow Skynyrd guitarist Allen Collins were both involved in separate car wrecks in their hometown of Jacksonville. Rossington had just bought a new Ford Torino, and hit an oak tree while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The band was due to go on tour in a couple of days, but had to postpone this tour due to Rossington’s accident. The band members were not at all pleased with Rossington, and fined him $5000 for the delay caused to the band’s schedule. Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Allen Collins wrote the song “That Smell” based on the wreck and Rossington’s state of influence from drugs and alcohol at the time.

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