RIP Billy Powell

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RIP Billy Powell

Postby Rob » Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:27 pm

Lynyrd Skynyrd keyboardist Billy Powell died today. I guess I could write something gauzy about how he's free as a bird now, but that just seems so obvious. And it wouldn't do him justice.

I loved Skynyrd growing up and I still love Skynyrd. Billy was a huge part of that. He'll be missed by millions of fans.

Oh hell, seeing as Billy played those beautiful piano parts on Freebird, I do hope he's free as a bird.

Thanks for the music and RIP, Billy.
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-- Nigel Tufnel
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Postby scottz » Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:09 pm

I think of Billy playing again with Ronnie, Steve and Cassie, Allen, Leon... Yeah, I want to hear them again. I was lucky to have seen them a few times between "second helping" and "street survivors". I was living in Biloxi at that time, and didn't have to travel far to see great shows. Skynyrd played 3 miles, 12 miles, and about 65 miles from my house! Ya think I was not gonna go?
Billy was so young when he got the keys job with L.S. Just a kid! Some of you might remember the time of the crash and funerals, and that Billy had just been released from the hospital with severe facial injuries, but made it to his bandmates funerals. Everyone I knew was so devastated about the losses. The national media was just breaking the news of the crash, as I and my boss were sitting in a cafe in Lake Charles Louisiana. Our waitress cried and cried. We sat silent for a long time, chain-smoking cigarettes. Hoping this was some mistake.
After returning to Mississippi, I got together with my friends, consoling each other, and drinking. Remembering our good times with Skynyrd. We were young, not much younger than the band, though.
Today, I wish I could spend this time with those friends, my old boss, that waitress in Lake Charles. But that can only happen in my heart. Billy Powell was a big part of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and a big part of the lives of Skynyrd fans. Any of you that love the band, and Billy, it'd be cool to post some memories here.
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Postby scottz » Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:37 pm

I lived with a couple of guys I had been in electronics school with, in a little house about a block away from the Barq's rootbeer bottler (the original) in Biloxi. Our house sat back off of the street, behind another house. Perfect party location!
Anyway, our neighbor was Yasna, an immigrant from Yugoslavia. She was every bit our mother, and teacher of life experience. I remember the way she eyed us all, when we moved in. Even warning us, that we'd better keep in line. We became good friends with her and her sister. I remember Yasna, talking me into moving Ivanka into a second floor apartment. That was a JOB!
Yasna didn't have a lot, but she did have a hammond organ that she dearly loved and played daily. She mostly knew folk tunes from home, but she did play and sing Sweet Home Alabama! Her accent was thick, and she mispronounced a lot of words, but her playing was wonderful. God, I wish I could hear her play that again!
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Postby Rob » Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:51 pm

I was only 11 in 1977 when their plane went down but I remember it well. It was all so sad. I think my older brother had tickets to their show in New York on that tour. I wasn't allowed to go to concerts at that point :roll:.

Somewhere in the house is the pre-crash copy of Street Survivors with the flames surrounding the band. And I remember after the crash when they switched the cover to just the band with a black background.

I used to try to impress my dad with the fact that because Billy kept a bust of Mozart (or was it Beethoven?) on his home piano that Skynyrd was worth a listen and respectable :lol:. He never bought into my line of reasoning.

I'm glad you got to see them, Scott. Forgetting all the southern BS where they're kind of pigeon-holed, they were a truly great band. Period.
You can't really dust for vomit.

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Postby Turk » Sun Feb 01, 2009 7:43 pm

No personal memories of Billy except that he was a phenomenal piano player. One of the best.
RIP, Billy.
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Postby Our Kid » Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:52 pm

Great comments, Zimmo. I always love reading your recollections...

Rob, thanks for starting this thread. I was really sad to hear about Billy's passing and immediately thought of him pounding away at the end of Freebird at the R&RHOF Induction Bash a few years ago. He was having the time of his life. The man could play, flat out. To think that he was first just a roadie, you know...

RIP Billy. You will be missed...
"You could write a song about some kind of emotional problem you are having, but it would not be a good song, in my eyes, until it went through a period of sensitivity to a moment of clarity. Without that moment of clarity to contribute to the song, it's just complaining."

-Joni Mitchell-
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