Ross Halfin on “Pronounced: A Photograpic History of Lynryd Skynryd from 1973 to 1977”
“I’ve been working on the idea for this book for a while. It’s odd that some of the most established book companies looked down their collective noses at them as ‘white trash”, something that is just plainly stupid.
When I was a teenager, they were definitely dangerous, not to be messed with, which made them exciting, plus they toured the UK a lot and they appealed to the working class.
I always refer back to Pete Makowski’s piece, touring with them on the West Coast in SOUNDS, one the the greatest written testaments to the band – so I asked Geoff Barton to write an introduction as he was very much around at the time.
I spend so much time in America and each time you get in a car and put on classic rock radio what do you hear? ‘Freebird’ or ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. ‘Freebird’ has almost become an American national anthem .
I spoke to my friend Ken Levington (band manager) who said Gary Rossington would like to sign it – I sent Gary the book plates, and then he died. I was in South America at the time and then a couple of weeks later I was back in Los Angeles and waiting for me at the Sunset Marquis Hotel was a box returned from Atlanta.
I nearly threw it away, then thought I’d keep a book plate as a momento, I opened the package and to my surprise Gary had signed every plate a couple of days before he died. So I thought it was a nice message from the ‘Freebird’s’ wherever they all are now.
Play their music, it’s a part of American History. The ’70’s in all it’s musical glory and then look at the photos.. you won’t be disappointed”
To write a song cited as the best of its genre would be impressive enough, but to do so on your first album tells you all you need to know about the incredible impact of vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Gary Rossington, guitarist Allen Collins, guitar and bassist Ed King, keyboards Billy Powell and drummer Bob Burns had on popular music.
Following an impressive performance witnessed by producer Al Kooper in 1972, Lynyrd Skynyrd was quickly signed to ‘Sounds of the South’ label and by the summer of 1973 they had released their debut album (“Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd”). Featuring a guitar-tour-de-force, a vocalist who echoed his Jacksonville, Florida roots, and a roadie-come concert pianist, the album included not one, but four classic southern rock anthems: “Gimme Three Steps”, “Simple Man”, “Tuesday’s Gone”, and the iconic “Free Bird”.
In no time, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s reputation grew on the live circuit, earning a slot on The Who’s Quadrophenia tour. “Second Helping”, “Nuthin’ Fancy” and “Gimme Back My Bullets”, were released in quick succession driving the band to ever greater success, breaking into the upper reaches of the album charts. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1977 album “Street Survivors” was propelled by the extraordinary talents of Steve Gaines. Ronnie Van Zant even acknowledged Gaines as a true virtuoso, by stating the band would “all be in his shadow one day”.
Sadly, Gaines’ potential was never fully realised. On the evening of October 20, 1977, tragedy struck in Gillsburg, Mississippi, when a chartered Convair CV-240 ran out of fuel and crashed, claiming the lives of Gaines, his older sister Cassie, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, Captain Walter McCreary, First Officer William John Gray, and Van Zant himself, leaving a profound loss in the music world. “Street Survivors” went on to achieve double platinum status, becoming Lynyrd Skynyrd’s highest-charting album in the United States.
Rufus Publications is proud to announce a new coffee table book, dedicated to the glory years of the band: “Pronounced: A Photograpic History of Lynryd Skynryd from 1973 to 1977”. Compiled by leading rock Photographer Ross Halfin, a long time fan of the band, Pronounced explores the classic years of the band through the lens’ of photographers Michael Zagaris, Tom Hill, Dick Polak, Barry Plummer and many others with many of the shots scanned for the project and not seen before. The book features classic essays from celebrated music journalist Pete Makowski and written contributions from legendary Sounds editor Geoff Barton and Ross himself. The book is a true celebration of the band’s classic period.
Gary Rossington, the last remaining original member of the band and one of its main creative forces, personally signed copies of the Deluxe Collectors Edition and the Leather & Metal Edition of the book just before he passed away on March 5th 2023, creating truly collectible treasures for fans of one of rock’s greatest bands
The book, measuring 30cm square and running to more than 340 pages, will be available in three editions.
The Standard Edition will be a hardback boom with a matt laminated, foiled and embossed cover and will sell for £89 plus shipping worldwide.
The Deluxe Collectors Edition features a recycled leather spine and comes in a special, printed slipcase together with a poster, collectible giclee print and each copy is personally signed by Gary Rossington. This edition is numbered from 1 to 450 and sells for £300 plus shipping worldwide.
The Leather and Metal Edition is a supersized edition (375mm square) bound in recycled leather and presented in a metal slipcase. Each copy is personally signed by Gary Rossington. This will sell for £550 and is limited to just 50 numbered copies.
The book are on presale now and will ship at the end of October 2023.
The books can be ordered here