Steve Gaines guitar skills made a big contribution in the later success of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Not only could Steve play amazing licks, but he could also sing as well as write great songs as “I know a Little” on Street Survivors album proves.
Steve Gaines was born and raised in Miami, Oklahoma and attended Northeast Oklahoma College, before continuing his studies in Pittsburgh College in Kansas.
After getting his first guitar at the age of 14 and playing with various local bands, Steve relocated to Memphis, where his band signed a record deal and in 1975 they cut few tracks in the studio. 11 years after his death, in 1988, the songs were released by MCA Records as Steve Gaines solo album entitled “One in the Sun”.
Lynyrd Skynyrd had lost their guitarist Ed King in 1975 and were looking for replacement. When Cassie Gaines, Skynyrd backup singer suggested his brother to the band, Steve was asked to audition for them in May 11th and at the end of May, he was officially member of Lynyrd Skynyrd. In June Steve found himself on the road with the band, during which Skynyrd recorded their classic live album “One More from the Road” in Atlanta leg of the tour.
Lynyrd Skynyrd had some troubles during the recording of their next studio album, which was actually recorded twice. Steve had made a big impression on the whole band and he contributed to the album by singing “You Got That Right” with Ronnie as well as bringing his own songs “I Know a Little” and “Ain’t No Good Life” to the album.
Three days after the release of Street Survivors, on October 20, 1977, the plane carrying the band from Greenville, South Carolina to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, crashed in Gillsburg, Mississippi. Steve Gaines along with his sister Cassie and Ronnie Van Zant were killed on collision. He was just 28 years old at that time.
Steve Earl Gaines September 14, 1949 – October 20, 1977