Today... The Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash

For music history buffs, the name Lynyrd Skynyrd immediately recalls the day in 1977 when three band members, including founder Ronnie Van Zandt, died in a plane crash in the Mississippi woods.

It wasn't the first or last time a group of multi-talented musicians had died on a plane. But for those who knew the band's story and their rise to fame, that day was one of the saddest in rock history.

Lynyrd Skynyrd's debut date is clear at a ball field in Florida in 1964, where VanZant inadvertently hit a ball at Bob Burns and knocked it out.

America adopted Lynyrd Skynyrd as a hard-drinking, southern rock party band. Their first four albums eventually went on to silver, gold and platinum.

By October 15, 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd was skyrocketing to fame and had several new members when they embarked on a three-month tour.

The aircraft the band chose for the tour was the 1948 Convair 240, a twin-engine aircraft that had already accumulated over 29,000 flight hours.

The plane was out of date earlier that year, with Aerosmith flight crew members refusing to use it because they felt it was not up to snuff.

The band that had been Lynyrd Skynyrd (pictured here in 1977 before the tour) had departed from playing cards while Van Zantt was snarling on the floor fearing for his life.

Convair slid another 140 feet - a total of 495 feet from the time it hit the first tree on the way. The wings were torn along the crash path.