Lynyrd Skynyrd Guitarist Ed King Dead at 68
Former Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Ed King has died. According to a post on his Facebook page, the classic rock legend died on Wednesday (Aug. 22) at the age of 68.
"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," the Facebook posts reads.
Born on Sept. 4, 1949, King first came to musical fame as a member of the Strawberry Alarm Cock, a Los Angeles-based psychedelic band that scored mainstream hits with "Incense and Peppermints" and "Tomorrow." In 1968, King met the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd when they opened for his band, and in 1972 he joined Skynyrd as a bassist, replacing Leon Wilkeson, who briefly departed the group. When Wilkeson returned, King moved to guitar, creating the three-guitar sound that was one of Skynyrd's hallmarks.
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King's guitar playing and songwriting played a major role on the group's first three records; Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd, Second Helping, and Nuthin' Fancy. King co-wrote their most iconic hit, "Sweet Home Alabama," and that's him counting the "One, two, three," before launching into his legendary riff to start the song. King also wrote or co-wrote "Poison Whiskey," "Saturday Night Special," "Mr. Banker," "Swamp Music," "Whiskey Rock-a-Roller," "Railroad Song," "I Need You" and "Workin' for MCA."
King left Lynyrd Skynyrd initially in 1975. He was replaced by Steve Gaines, who was killed in a plane crash along with his sister Cassie Gaines and Skynyrd singer Ronnie Van Zant on Oct. 20, 1977, that has become the stuff of legend.
King rejoined the reunited Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1987, and played with them for nearly a decade until he was forced to retire in 1996 due to congestive heart failure. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006 as a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd. King received a heart transplant in 2011.
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