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Steve Gaines

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Steven Earl Gaines (September 14, 1949 – October 20, 1977) was an American musician. He is most well-known as a guitarist and songwriter for Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Gaines was born in Miami, Oklahoma. He began playing guitar after seeing The Beatles in concert as a teenager. His first band, The Ravens, made its first recording at the famous Sun Recording Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. Gaines later played with bands RIO Smokehouse, Rusty Day and Detroit in the 1970’s. He also recorded several songs with friend and producer John Ryan that were later released in 1988 by MCA Records as his only solo album, One In The Sun.

In 1976, Gaines’ sister, Cassie Gaines, became a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s female backup singers, The Honkettes. Around the same time, the band was looking for a guitarist to replace Ed King, who left the band the year before. Cassie recommended her brother, and after initial reluctance, the band allowed Gaines to join them onstage for a show. He became a band member within a month, just in time for the recording of Skynyrd’s live album One More From The Road.

Gaines’ guitar and songwriting skills were a major contribution to the band, as proven on the 1977 album Street Survivors. Three days after the album was released, on October 20, 1977, a plane carrying the band between shows from Greenville, South Carolina to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, crashed outside of Gillsburg, Mississippi. The crash killed Ronnie Van Zant, Gaines, his sister Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, as well as pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray.

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