Saturday, October 20, 2007

30 years ago this morning

Thiry years ago this morning I bolted out of bed when the blasted alarm . . . blasted.

Nothing new there. Working full time for the city plus a part-time job, if I didn't have the radio's volume set on BLAST I probably would have slept through it.

My response with automatic. Conditioning like Pavlov's dogs, I guess. I fell in bed at night, exhausted, and the next thing I knew, I was in the shower the next morning, a cup of coffee on the counter from the pot I'd fixed . . . but I never remembered any of it.

I still can't recall any of those mornings, except just one. Something on the blasted, blasting radio stopping me in my tracks before I even got through the bedroom door:

Thirty years ago today, a rented plane took off from Greenville, S.C., headed for Baton Rouge, La. Just before dark, just before it reached the Louisiana line, the plane ran out of fuel and sank toward the Mississippi landscape below.
Not that there were any details. Just the DJ reporting, and later breaking in repeatedly, to say that the plane carrying Lynyrd Skynyrd had crashed.

It's not that I was that familiar with their music. I didn't have the time to listen to much of anything, or do anything except go to work, work, go to the part-time job, work there, get home, fall in bed and then find myself standing in the shower the next morning. To somehow do it all over again.

I knew their name, though. Knew it well.

"It was like we had a dream," said guitarist Gary Rossington, who broke both arms, both legs and other bones in the crash. "Myself, Allen [Collins] and Ronnie, we had a dream to make it as big as we could. We saw The Ed Sullivan Show. We saw the British bands, and we just wanted to make it.

"And there we were, after seven, eight years of doing everything we had to do, playing clubs up and down the coast and not making any money. Playing high school dances.

"Now we were selling millions of albums, we were making money. It was a gas to sell out everywhere we played. It was a dream come true." -- [Source]

Theirs was a "local boys make good" story. It still is.

It was how hard they'd worked before achieving success I'd connected with back then. Maybe even was leaning on harder than I knew, until the blasted radio went off, 30 years ago this morning.

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