ZZ Top And Lynyrd Skynyrd To Rock Youngstown May 22

You can flip a coin to decide which band, ZZ Top or Lynyrd Skynyrd, would be the headliner for the Rebels & Bandoleros Tour which will be making a stop in Youngstown on May 22.  These are two of the premium bands to pioneer a hot Southern Rock movement which blossomed in the late 1970’s and carried over into the 80’s.

“These bands are big time for Youngstown,” commented Eric Ryan, director of the Covelli Centre.  “There are a few tickets left, but the response has been tremendous and we anticipate a sellout.”

Amazingly, ZZ Top has the same lineup it had 40 years ago.  Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard have beaten the odds of longevity and persevered into a few new decades as a trio.  Gibbons and Hill grew the trademark beards in 1977 when the band was taking a break between touring and the next album.  In 1983, Eliminator was released and MTV gave the band heavy rotation for their concept videos featuring some very pretty women.

This band has sold 50 million albums worldwide, 25 million in the US alone.  For all of their great accomplishments, the band was inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.  These guys are legendary and will live long beyond the mortal man as they have definitely carved their likeness into pop culture.

Speaking of leaving a mark on pop culture, Lynyrd Skynyrd takes a backseat to nobody.  Just in the last couple of years, bands on the way up have borrowed from the legendary group.  Kid Rock used the melody of Sweet Home Alabama to get himself a big #1 hit.  Shinedown took on Simple Man, and on and on.  Those Van Zant boys sure know how to write a good song.

There is so much history with Skynyrd.  They named their band Lynyrd Skynyrd after a stringent gym teacher named Leonard Skinner who had a policy against boys with long hair.  The 2006 Hall of Fame inductees are still pounding the arenas.  The only original member who remains is Gary Rossington.

Skynyrd has endured despite tragedy.  On October 20, 1977, just three days after the release of Street Survivors, and five shows into their most successful headlining tour to date, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s chartered airplane ran out of fuel near the end of their flight from Greenville, South Carolina, where they had just performed.  Though the pilots attempted an emergency landing on a small airstrip, the plane crashed in a forest in Gillsburg, Mississippi.  Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray were all killed on impact; the other band members suffered serious injuries.

Johnny Van Zant, and his brother, Donnie of 38 Special, carry the torch for the loss of Ronnie.  Johnny is in the current touring group, he just wasn’t an original member.  This band took ten years off  before deciding to give it a go in 1987.  Their music is absolutely unique and can be heard and recognized at any time.

Maybe that is what makes this twin bill on May 22 so special.  Both of these bands have a trademark sound that the average music fan can identify.  If you want good, original, from the heart Rock & Roll, this would serve as a can’t miss show.

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