I tuned in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies specifically to see the induction of Lynyrd Skynyrd. It was a spectacular rock & roll moment.
I was Skynyrd's New York promotion rep back in the 70's and got the mighty WABC to play "Sweet Home Alabama," one of the classic rock records of all time. Back then their singles didn't get much airplay in New York, but their albums were featured on album-oriented stations like WNEW-FM. (Check out the archives for an amazing Skynyrd adventure in the Scott Muni tribute).

In 1977 I was vice president at MCA, and had the honor of naming their "Street Survivors" album. That summer in Oakland over the 4th of July weekend, the group appeared just before Peter Frampton who was headlining due to the success of "Frampton Comes Alive." That day& at that stadium& on that stage.. they were the greatest band in the world. Skynyrd killed.

There was no way Frampton and his light British pop combo could follow them. I watched backstage as Bill Graham huddled in conference with Frampton. A short time later Graham's plan unfolded as Peter walked out on the stage alone with his guitar. He sat on a stool and with no introduction began playing. After a few numbers, his band came out and the show continued. Graham was a genius; He realized that if Frampton and the band just came on after Skynyrd, they would have bombed. Frampton's mellow ditties could never follow the passionate power of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

That year the group had finally made it and nothing could stop them and then the unthinkable happened.

A few years later there was the Rossington Collins Band, but it was at a Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam where Skynyrd was reborn. They've been together and on the road for years, but I could never bring myself to a show. I had no problem going to the Allman Brothers Band shows, but other than being a fan of the music, I had no personal attachment.

I had seen the original Skynyrd with Ronnie, Allan, and Leon countless times, and I couldn't bring myself to see the line-ups that came later. Well, I finally saw them on the Hall of Fame show and they kicked ass. They owned that show and only needed two songs to do it Alabama and Freebird. I was proud of them.

The Pistols didn't show, Sabbath didn't play, but it was irrelevant because Lynyrd Skynyrd took care of business. God bless Gary, Billy, Artimus, and all the players past and present. Lynyrd Skynyrd are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the beat goes on.

Ray D'Ariano



1962 - The nucleus of The Rolling Stones was formed when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards met up with Brian Jones at the Ealing Jazz Club in London.

1964 - The Beatles accomplished something that may never be equalled. They held the top 5 positions on the U.S. Billboard singles chart.

1971 - Chicago became the first American rock group to perform at Carnegie Hall.

New this month . . .

CD Reviews:
Morph The Cat
Donald Fagen
Pay The Devil Van Morrison
Coming Home Kenn Morr
Rock Is Dead Blast Room
Band From Brooklyn Ox Bow Incident

Concert Review:
W.A.S.P. Live at Chicago City Limits
in Schaumburg, Illinois

Game Review:
Guitar Hero for PlayStation 2

Back to Archives