Lynyrd Skynyrd Ex-Guitarist, ‘Sweet Home Alabama,’ Co-Writer, Ed King, Dies At 68
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It has been reported that Ed King, former guitarist of the band Lynard Skynard, is dead at the age of 68.
The official cause of King’s death has not been announced at this time.
I am saddened by the news of Ed King passing today at his home in Nashville, Tennessee. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. #rvz #edking #edwardcking #lynyrdskynyrdband #lynyrdskynyrd #skynyrd #skynyrdnation #lynardskynard #skynard #skynerd #freebird #sweethomealabama #guitar #guitarist #flyhighfreebird #flyonproudbird #flyonproudbirdyourefreeatlast #playitprettyfored #ronnievanzant #ronaldwaynevanzant #strawberryalarmclock #incenseandpeppermints #rocknroll #rockandroll #rockandrollhalloffame #southernrock #classicrock @skynyrd
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Ed King was born on on September 14th, 1949. He was part of Lynard Skynard from 1972-1975 and again from 1987-1996. He co-wrote the band’s hit song “Sweet Home Alabama” in addition to being well-known for his “one, two, three” at the top of the track. He helped co-write many other songs for the band as well, including “Saturday Night Special,” “Mr. Banker” and “Poison Whiskey”. When he first joined the band in 1972, he was there for the 1973 debut album, Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd, 1974’s Second Helping and 1975’s Nuthin’ Fancy.
Singer Ronnie Van Zant, Gaines and sister Cassie Gaines were killed in a plane crash in 1977, which then prompted the hiatus of the band. King rejoined when the band reformed in 1987 and continued all the way until 1996, when health issues began to arise. He was forced to leave the band due to congestive heart failure. He did undergo a successful heart transplant in 2011 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame within the same year.
RIP Ed King (pictured far right), the California hippie who joined Lynyrd Skynyrd and helped them forge their iconic three guitar sound. “He offered to join Skynyrd when, opening for the band at the Jacksonville, Florida bar the Comic Book Club in 1968. It wasn’t until 1972, however, when King signed on with Skynyrd, temporarily replacing bassist Leon Wilkeson and then becoming a full-fledged member as third guitarist. King played on the first three albums: 1973’s (Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd), 1974’s Second Helping and 1975’s Nuthin’ Fancy. He most famously co-wrote Second Helping‘s “Sweet Home Alabama” – that’s him counting off “1, 2, 3” in the song’s intro – which, along with “Free Bird,” has become synonymous with the group. After a dust-up with singer Ronnie Van Zant, King, tired of the Skynyrd drama and propensity for fighting, exited the band in 1975. ‘I’m the hippie from Southern California. I’m not digging the violence part,’ King said, recounting how a broken string at a show in Pittsburgh earned him the wrath of the mercurial Van Zant. ‘Ronnie and my guitar roadie who changed my strings were thrown in jail in Ann Arbor. They didn’t arrive … until 10 minutes before we went on. I had to play on old strings and I broke two strings during ‘Free Bird.’ After, Ronnie was riding me, and a lightbulb went off and I said, ‘That’s it.’ I went back to my room, packed up my stuff and left.’” @rollingstone
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King had been providing updates to his official Facebook page on his health. Only a month ago he wrote on his Facebook, saying, “I had a most excellent day and they’ll keep coming. I’m back to eating, everything is functioning. Getting stronger and feel incredible. I’m just wobbly.” In addition, he promoted his new book he had been writing with a photo of the final edits. He appeared to be in good spirits.
I had a most excellent day and they’ll keep coming. I’m back to eating, everything is functioning. Getting stronger…
His final post was a morbid and cryptic photo sent from his friend and guitarist Beal Cayman. The photo appeared to be an album cover of sorts that said “Easy Funeral Hits” on the front.
A statement was released on his Facebook page at the time of death. It read, “It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of Ed King who died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee on August 22nd, 2018. We thank his many friends and fans for their love and support of Ed during his life and career.”
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