Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American rock band best known for popularizing the Southern rock genre during the 1970s. Originally formed in 1964 as the "Noble Five" in Jacksonville, Florida, the band rose to worldwide recognition on the basis of its driving live performances and signature tunes, "Free Bird" and "Sweet Home Alabama". At the peak of their success, three members died in an airplane crash on October 20, 1977, putting an abrupt end to the band's most popular incarnation. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray were killed on impact; the other band members (Allen Collins, Gary Rossington, Leon Wilkeson, Billie Powell, Artimus Pyle, and Leslie Hawkins) and road crew suffered serious injuries.
Surviving members re-formed in 1987 for a reunion tour with lead singer Ronnie Van Zant's younger brother Johnny as frontman. A version of the band continues to tour and record, with only Gary Rossington of its original members remaining as of 2012. Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 13, 2006.