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Author: Subject: Allen Collins/Skynyrd, Rest in Peace, 1.23.90

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 09:33 AM


Allen Collins died 16 years ago today, 1.23.90, at 3:48 PM in a Jackonville, FL hospital. He died of a decreased lung capacity, due to being paralyzed from the waist down, which resulted in his contractracting pneumonia. His father Larkin Collins is quoted in a book as having said that Allen lived about as long as he was expected to live in a wheel chair. He said, that to his knowledge, most people in Allen's condition usually went on to live for about five years. I think that is the gist of what is in the "Oral History" book that went out of print. The picture above is from around 1984 I believe. The Allen Collins Band was put together and released an album in 1983. The album is of course Here, There and Back. Allen was paralyzed in 1986 when he wrecked his car while driving under the influence of alcohol. His girlfriend was killed in the car crash.


Allen, who died at the age of 37, is survived by, I think, three daughters. Allen always abused alcohol and drugs, and coincidentally he cowrote several anti-drug songs with Ronnie: The Needle and the Spoon, That Smell, and Junkie.

Allen who stuggled with drugs and alcohol saw many around him dying young: Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, Dean Kilpatrick, all of whom died in the 1977 plane crash. And around 1980 Allen's pregnant wife Kathy Collins hemorhaged as she sat in a movie theater with her daughters. And in a coincidence, Judy Van Zant was either in the same movie theater, or she came to the same theater that same day. This is accounted in one of the books dedicated to Lynyrd Skynyrd. After Allen's wife died it is said that Allen's life continued to spiral into an abyss. Sometime soon and early into the life of the Rossington Collins Band, Allen entered into a fued with his long time friend and bandmate Gary Rossington. It has been said that perhaps both Allen and Gary had been attracted to Dale Krantz, the lead singer of RCB. The Rossington Collins Band folded after the release of This is the Way. Gary went on to release to Rossington Band albums. Allen put his solo band together, but it seems MCA backed out from supporting the band, or that is what I have heard.


Anyway, Allen was clearly one third of Lynyrd Skynyrd. The the original seminal members of Lynyrd Skynryd were Allen Collins, Ronnie Van Zant and Gary Rossington.










[Edited on 1/23/2006 by JaminRebel]

 

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Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 10:04 AM

L to R. Allen, Bob Burns, Ronnie, Gary's arm, and Leon.

Funnochio's 1972, before the first album. Before the MCA record deal.

[Edited on 1/23/2006 by JaminRebel]

 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 10:05 AM

 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 10:06 AM

 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 10:06 AM

 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 10:07 AM

 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 10:10 AM
ride in peace
 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 10:14 AM

 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 10:17 AM

 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 10:18 AM




Ok, this photo confirms that Allen had two daughters, at least by 1977. I am not sure if the child Kathy's Collin's was pregnant with survived her after death.

[Edited on 1/23/2006 by JaminRebel]

 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 10:20 AM
Allen carried himself like a rock star for sure. RIP

 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 10:24 AM
I still hope that one day MCA records gets there act together
and puts Here There and Back out on cd again.
And with the the hall of fame this year it might be a
good time for mca to get with it.
peace

 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 10:26 AM
ALLEN COLLINS
Long considered one of rock's premier guitarists, Allen Collins served as heart to Ronnie VanZant's soul in Lynyrd Skynyrd. Allen's unique, firey guitar playing and powerful songwriting helped insure Lynyrd Skynyrd's place in rock and roll history.

Born at St. Lukes Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida on July 19, 1952, Allen (delivered by Doctor Owens) weighed in at 7 pounds, 14 ounces. Allen's mother, Eva remembers her son as full of energy and enthusiasm -- even before Allen could walk he moved constantly. From his earliest days Allen loved cars -- especially race cars -- and his favorite summer activity was going to Jacksonville Raceway every Saturday night to watch Leroy Yarborough race. The Collins family first started attending the races when Allen was eight years old and Allen, sitting as high in the stands as possible, would laugh and holler as he pretended to be racing his own car. This early fascination lasted throughout Allen's life -- he later collected an entire fleet of collectible and performance cars that was one of his proudest possessions.

In 1963, Allen lived in Jacksonville's Cedar Hills area when an older friend received a guitar for his birthday. Allen was hooked. Allen's parents had recently divorced and times were tough for Allen, his sister and mother. His mother, already working all day at the cigar factory, took a second job at Woolworths in the evenings. As soon as she had saved enough money, she surprised Allen by taking him down to Sears and ordered his first Silvertone guitar and amplifier. Despite no training aside from a few tips from his step-mother and friend, Allen picked up the guitar easily and quickly formed his first band -- The Mods.

Together with singer Ronnie VanZant and guitarist Gary Rossington, Allen Collins formed the nucleus of Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1964 by learning what they could from each other and listening to the radio. This early band, first called My Backyard, then the Noble Five also included drummer Bob Burns and bassist Larry Junstrum. Finding a place to practice proved difficult and the choices were limited to the carport at Bob's house, Ronnie's backyard, where they were sure to get a full meal or Allen's living room which usually included Eva's famous cakes and candies. After several years of practicing, performing and personnel changes, Skynyrd, like any decent group of fledgling rock stars, started gigging the notorious one-nighters.

In 1970, Allen married Kathy Johns. Allen included his band mates in his wedding party, but Kathy worried that their long haired appearance would disturb her parents. Solving the problem required everyone tucking their rock and roll image under wigs for the wedding ceremony. The wedding reception played host to a piece of rock and roll history -- one of the first public performances of "Freebird" complete with the trademark extended guitar jam at the end. Allen's family grew with the birth of his daughter Amie followed quickly by Allison. Times were very difficult since Allen's musical career barely brought in enough to support the young family. Despite coming close several times, Lynyrd Skynyrd just kept missing that elusive big break.

In 1973, however, things finally started coming together for Lynyrd Skynyrd. During a week-long stint at Funochio's in Atlanta, the band was discovered by the renown Al Kooper. After signing a record deal with MCA subsidiary Sounds of the South, Skynyrd entered the studio with Kooper producing. The result -- Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd -- started the band on its rise to fame with standards like 'Gimme Three Steps', 'Simple Man', and the incendiary, guitar-driven classic, 'Freebird'.

Gold and platinum albums followed a string of hit songs like 'Sweet Home Alabama', 'Saturday Night Special', 'Gimme Back My Bullets', 'What's Your Name?', and 'That Smell'. Over the four years Skynyrd recorded, the memories gradually turned into legends. Opening the Who tour. "Skynning" Europe alive. 1975's Torture Tour. Steve Gaines. One More From The Road. The Knebworth Fair '76.

By October 20, 1977, Skynyrd's songs had become radio staples. Their latest album, Street Survivors, had just been released to critical and popular acclaim. Their ambitious new tour, just days underway, saw sellout crowds. Then it all fell away at 6000 feet above a Mississippi swamp.

At 6:42 PM, the pilot of Lynyrd Skynyrd's chartered Convair 240 airplane radioed that the craft was dangerously low on fuel. Less than ten minutes later, the plane crashed into a densely wooded thicket in the middle of a swamp. The crash, which killed Ronnie VanZant, guitarist Steve Gaines, vocalist Cassie Gaines, road manager Dean Kilpatrick and seriously injured the rest of the band and crew, shattered Skynyrd's fast rising star as it cut a 500 foot path through the swamp. Lynyrd Skynyrd had met a sudden, tragic end.

After several years of recovery, the crash survivors felt the time was right for another try. Gary Rossington and Allen Collins had performed at a few special jams, and slowly began planning a new band. Over the next few weeks they signed on Skynyrd survivors Billy Powell and Leon Wilkeson and other local musicians, although the choice of a lead vocalist for the new band remained a perplexing one. Realizing any singer would be faced with inevitable comparisons with Ronnie VanZant, Allen and Gary chose Dale Krantz, a gutsy, whiskey-voiced female backup singer from .38 Special. This change set the Rossington Collins band apart as they entered the 1980s.

The Rossington-Collins Band debuted in June 1980 with the Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere album. Kicked by such songs as 'Getaway" and 'Don't Misunderstand Me' the album sold more than a million copies and the band toured to enthusiastic, sellout crowds. However the band's 1981 follow-up effort stumbled in the marketplace despite being well-received critically.

Tragedy struck Allen's life again just as the Rossington Collins Band started. During the first days of the stressful debut concert tour, Allen's wife Kathy passed away forcing the tour's cancellation. Coupled with the lingering effects of losing his friends in the plane crash, Kathy's death devastated Allen. However, the pull of creating music was too strong for Allen to walk away from. Even when Gary Rossington and Dale Krantz quit the Rossington Collins Band, Allen continued on forming the Allen Collins Band in 1983. Allen originally wanted the name Horsepower for his band, but shortly after completing the new album's artwork they learned that name was already used. Their one release, Here, There and Back, met with considerable fan approval, but little support from MCA Records which dropped the band shortly after the album's release.

Once again tragedy struck Allen in 1986. Driving near his home in Jacksonville, Allen crashed his car in an accident which killed his girlfriend and left him permanently paralyzed from the waist down. The injuries also limited the use of his upper body and arms. He later plead no contest to DUI manslaughter.

During the 1987 Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute tour Allen served as musical director -- selecting the set lists, arranging the songs and setting the stage. However, remaining on the sidelines while his band took center stage proved painful for the guitarist. Part of Allen's sentence from his car wreck, called for him to use his fame and influence to warn kids of the dangers of drunk driving. Allen used the Tribute tour to go on stage and let his fans know the reason why he couldn't play with Skynyrd -- a powerful, sobering message few fans will forget.

In 1989, Allen developed pneumonia as a result of decreased lung capacity from the paralyzation. He entered the hospital in September where he passed away on January 23, 1990.





 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 10:32 AM

L to R. Allen, Ronnie, Leon, Gary.

Lynyrd Skynyrd at Funnochios in 1972, playing one of Atlanta, GA toughest bars.

[Edited on 1/23/2006 by JaminRebel]

 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 10:48 AM



 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 11:17 AM

 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 11:18 AM

 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 12:08 PM
quote:
I still hope that one day MCA records gets there act together
and puts Here There and Back out on cd again.
And with the the hall of fame this year it might be a
good time for mca to get with it.
peace


I'm with ya on that one.

 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 12:09 PM



Allen had a lot to deal with in his short time........

I was a fan of his also........

 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 12:12 PM
quote:

L to R. Allen, Ronnie, Leon, Gary.

Lynyrd Skynyrd at Funnochios in 1972, playing one of Atlanta, GA toughest bars.

[Edited on 1/23/2006 by JaminRebel]


Look at Leon. What a fun guy he was to hang with. I miss him so much too.

 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 12:19 PM
Is Leon wearing one of those guitar straps that Duane/Berry made famous?

 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 12:32 PM
great photos ,great band
 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 12:49 PM
RIP Allen. Allen, Gary, and Ronnie made some damn good music. Great thread, pictures, and posts, guys.

 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 12:50 PM
Allen Collins....still one of my favorite guitarists....man he could make that Firebird sing.....love the video of him jumping up and down like a crazy nut.....will have to play some early Skynyrd nice and loud tonight.....RIP Allen ....we miss ya!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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  posted on 1/23/2006 at 01:55 PM
A few more pics of Allen...




 

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