Music

Rossington Collins Band: Revisiting the Skynyrd Spinoff's Two-Album Run

Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd performs at the Tortuga Festival in Ft Lauderdale,Florida on April 14, 2013 (Photo by Jeff Daly/Invision/AP)

During the 10-year hiatus between the 1977 plane crash that ended Lynyrd Skynyrd's first run and the Southern rock luminaries' 1987 comeback, Skynyrd guitarists Gary Rossington and Allen Collins lent their names to the Rossington Collins Band.

Rossington and Collins formed the band with fellow Skynyrd members Leon Wilkeson (bass) and Billy Powell (keyboards). They were joined by Jacksonville-based drummer Derek Hess (Skynyrd's Artimus Pyle was unavailable after a motorcycle crash) and a guitarist out of Atlanta named Barry Lee Harwood. Rounding out the lineup was lead vocalist Dale Krantz, a woman who'd been a backup singer for .38 Special (a group which then featured late Skynyrd lead singer Ronnie Van Zant's brother, Donnie Van Zant). And while we're on the subject of family ties, Dale would soon marry Gary and become Dale Krantz-Rossington.

The Southern rock band recorded two albums for Skynyrd's label home, MCA Records. The first of these, 1980's Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere, became a Top 15 rock album and has since earned Gold status. Krantz's blues-rock delivery and a three-guitar attack that's instantly familiar to Skynyrd fans made standout tracks "Don't Misunderstand Me," "Prime Time," "Getaway" and "Opportunity" stand the test of time.

One year later, the group's short run ended with a second album, This is the Way. Harrington, who'd chipped in on vocals for "Don't Misunderstand Me," sings lead on two of the album's better tracks, "Fancy Ideas" and "I'm Free Today." The album's also known for two emotional tributes to Ronnie Van Zant, "Taushauna" and "Pine Box," plus the grittier "Don't Stop Me Now."

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The strongest and longest-lasting post-plane crash band featuring members of Lynyrd Skynyrd called it quits in 1982. Earlier examples of Skynyrd offshoots are the short-lived band Alias and the gathering of Skynyrd alum that played an instrumental version of "Freebird" at Charlie Daniels' 1979 event Volunteer Jam V. Rossington Collins Band spinoff the Allen Collins Band lasted for only one album, 1983's Here, There and Back.

The Lynyrd Skynyrd name rose from the ashes in 1987, and as of 2021, the band's still at it with Gary Rossington as its lone original member.

An Oct. 20, 1977 plane crash in Mississippi ended Skynyrd's original run and claimed the lives of Johnny Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, backup singer (and Steve's older sister) Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray.

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Rossington Collins Band: Revisiting the Skynyrd Spinoff's Two-Album Run