Lynyrd Skynyrd epitomized 1970's southern rock. Just as famous for their reckless lifestyle as their three-guitar wail, the band did for the word "redneck" what gangsta rap bands would later do for the word "n*gg*" -- turned a derogatory slur into a badge of honor. "Free Bird," their anthemic tribute to Duane Allman, was much more than a hit: it has become a classic rock staple, a song whose stature can be measured by the way countless high school bands continue to maul it in gymnasiums across the country. The band's career was tragically cut short by a plane crash which killed leader Ronnie Van Zant and two other members in 1977. Skynyrd reformed ten years later with Van Zant's little brother Johnny taking over as vocalist. The new line-up has continued touring and recording into the '00s. While they've put on plenty of pounds and stubbornly stuck to a sound that's now over thirty years old, their blues-inflected hard rock is still curiously vibrant.