Street Survivors is the fifth studio album by the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, released on October 17, 1977. The LP is the last Skynyrd album recorded by original members Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins, and is the sole Skynyrd studio recording by guitarist Steve Gaines. Three days after the album’s release, the band’s chartered airplane crashed en route to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, killing the pilot, co-pilot, the group’s assistant road-manager and three band members (Van Zant, Gaines, and Gaines’ older sister, backup singer Cassie Gaines), and severely injuring most who survived the crash.
The album was an instant success, achieving gold certification just 10 days after its release. It would later go double platinum. The album performed well on the charts, peaking at #5 (the band’s highest-charting album), as did the singles “What’s Your Name” and “That Smell,” the former a top-20 hit on the singles chart.
On October 20, 1977, only three days after the release of Street Survivors, and five shows into their most successful headlining tour to date, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s chartered Convair CV-300 ran out of fuel near the end of their flight from Greenville, South Carolina, where they had just performed at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium, to LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Though the pilots attempted an emergency landing on a small airstrip, the plane crashed in a forest five miles (8 km) northeast of Gillsburg, Mississippi. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray, were killed on impact. The other band members (Collins, Rossington, Wilkeson, Powell, Pyle, and Hawkins), tour manager Ron Eckerman, and road crew survived, but suffered serious injuries.
Following the crash and the ensuing press, Street Survivors became the band’s second platinum album and reached No. 5 on the U.S. album chart. The single “What’s Your Name?” reached No. 13 on the single airplay charts in January 1978.
The original cover sleeve for Street Survivors had featured a photograph of the band standing on a city street with all its buildings engulfed in flames, some near the center nearly obscuring Steve Gaines’s face. After the plane crash, this cover became highly controversial. Out of respect for the deceased (and at the request of Teresa Gaines, Steve’s widow), MCA Records withdrew the original cover and replaced it with a similar image of the band against a simple black background, which was on the back cover of the original sleeve. Conspiracy theorists have long claimed that only those band members touched by flame in the photograph were killed in the crash, but this is not true (flame appears to touch nearly all band members). Thirty years later, for the deluxe CD version of Street Survivors, the original “flames” cover was restored.
1. “What’s Your Name” 3:30
2. “That Smell” 5:48
3. “One More Time” 5:03
4. “I Know a Little” 3:26
1. “You Got That Right” 3:44
2. “I Never Dreamed” 5:21
3. “Honky Tonk Night Time Man” 3:59
4. “Ain’t No Good Life” 4:36
9. “Georgia Peaches” 3:15
10. “Sweet Little Missy” 5:10
11. “You Got That Right” 3:26
12. “I Never Dreamed” 4:55
13. “Jacksonville Kid” 4:03