1949 – 2018
Guitarist was saddened to hear of the passing of former Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Ed King, who died in Nashville on 22 August, aged 68. King served two tenures in the band from 1972 to 1975 and again with the reformed lineup from 1987 to 1996. The guitarist was responsible for co-writing Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama and he also played a key role as part of the band’s triple-guitar dynamic on their first three albums, alongside Gary Rossington and the late Allen Collins. While Rossington first came up with the genesis of Sweet Home
Alabam, it was the King who contributed the memorable intro riff after hearing his bandmate strumming. And it wasn’t his first time contributing to a hit, having penned the bridge to the hit Incense
And Peppermints for his previous band Strawberry Alarm Clock, though he was never given an official credit on the song. When that band folded, the Californian joined old touring mates Skynyrd initially as a bassist, before moving to guitar (though King tracked the bass for the version of Freebird on Skynyrd’s 1973 debut). He would go on to co-write another of Skynyd’s signature songs,
Saturday Night Special on his final album with the band’s classic line-up on 1975’s Nuthin’ Fancy.
King quit Skynyrd two years before the 1977 Mississippi plane crash that killed six including Ronnie Van Zant, replacement guitarist Steve Gaines and his sister Cassie Gaines. He would rejoin when the band regrouped in 1987 with Ronnie’s younger brother Johnny as singer, staying until ill-health forced him to retire in 1996. King was inducted, alongside the rest of the band’s surviving members, into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2006.
Ed King played a key role on the first three Lynyrd Skynyrd albums