Billy Powell has died.
January 28, 2009 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Lynyrd Skynyrd keyboardist Billy Powell, dead of an apparent heart attack, was 56.
posted by VicNebulous (21 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Cause I'm as free as a bird now,
And this bird you'll never change.
And this bird you can not change.
Lord knows, I can't change.
Lord help me, I can't change.

posted by doctor_negative at 12:14 PM on January 28, 2009

He must be traveling on, now.

posted by solipsophistocracy at 12:19 PM on January 28, 2009

Well the sun don't shine where it used to
And the angels are hidin' their heads
People don't listen to their hearts anymore
Seems the good men all are dead

RIP Billy.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:28 PM on January 28, 2009


posted by Astro Zombie at 12:29 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

See, the only Skynard lyric that's coming into my head right now is "Can't you smell that smell?"

And that's just inappropriate.

RIP, good sir.
posted by hifiparasol at 12:58 PM on January 28, 2009 [4 favorites]

Also, I misspelled "Skynyrd," which is my punishment for my inappropriateness.
posted by hifiparasol at 12:59 PM on January 28, 2009

"Sweet Home Alabama,
Play that dead band's song,
Turn those speakers up full blast.
Play it all night long."
- Warren Zevon
posted by nasreddin at 1:19 PM on January 28, 2009

He started out as a Skynyrd roadie:
In 1972 Skynyrd was hired to play the Bolles School prom and while they were setting up, Billy noticed a piano off in the corner. "All of a sudden I sat down and played them my own version of 'Freebird', Billy remembered. "Ronnie VanZant came up to me and said, 'You mean to tell me, you've been playing the piano like that and you've been workin' for us for a year....' And I said, 'Well, you know, I've been classically trained most of my life.' So, right then and there, he said, 'We need a keyboard player.'
Lynyrd Skynyrd-Free Bird-BBC 1975

posted by Knappster at 1:29 PM on January 28, 2009

Swore I saw a Free Bird fly, ridin' the winds of the Southern sky...
posted by tinatiga at 1:36 PM on January 28, 2009

that sucks
posted by tylerfulltilt at 1:37 PM on January 28, 2009

He did a mean honky tonk.

posted by Nick Verstayne at 1:45 PM on January 28, 2009

"I been double spaced and indented
more than half way circumvented
put on trial and sent away
on charges patently false.
Like a bad dream in panorama
I had to listen to Sweet Home Alabama
the night they were playin' that beautiful
Tennessee Waltz."
-Samm Bennett

posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:52 PM on January 28, 2009

This band is about as lucky as Badfinger. In which I mean not at all. RIP, Billy.
posted by queensissy at 2:00 PM on January 28, 2009

Perhaps one appropriate response is an ASCII Confederate flag. Make of that what you will.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:08 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Free Bird was my high school graduating class song back in '87.
posted by zengargoyle at 3:15 PM on January 28, 2009

He was a very intelligent musician. I remember watching his interview on Austin City Limits. I really thought he was older.

posted by Sailormom at 3:42 PM on January 28, 2009

"holds up lighter"
posted by Ber at 4:09 PM on January 28, 2009

This makes me sad -- I loved Skynyrd when I was in middle school, ca. 1976. They had a lot of attitude, and their live album kicked ass, which was pretty much my gold standard for music appreciation back then. RIP, sir.
posted by mosk at 5:02 PM on January 28, 2009

This guy who worked at the same place as me 10 years ago had a picture of Himself and Billy Powell in his office. I said " You met Billy Powel?" , this was 1998-99 , the southern rock revival wasn't back yet, it wasn't cool to like Lynyrd Skynyrd so I was surprised to find someone who was into them . I was probably the only person in that building who'd ever recognized the photo. He told me a story .. he was driving down down backwoods road in Florida, I think, and saw a roadsign for Reverend Billy Powell's gospel church or something. He wondered if it was THE Billy Powell so he pulled over and went inside. It was THE Bllly Powell, he was doing this over the top preacher act and playing the organ. Real deep fried southern bible stuff. After the show this guy went backstage and met him, he said Powell was pounding whiskey and laughing it off, it was all act to make some dough.
He was a great player.
posted by Liquidwolf at 5:22 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]

Wouldn't it have been crazy it if were a plane crash?

posted by Slap Factory at 5:28 PM on January 28, 2009

The man was a hell of a honky-tonk pianist.
posted by Thistledown at 11:06 AM on January 29, 2009

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