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Lynyrd Skynyrd wisely disbanded after the tragic 1977 plane crash that killed its leader, Ronnie VanZant. The band later reunited, another wise move, but at that point in time, the members needed time to grieve and move on by pursuing other projects. And that's exactly what they did. Guitarists Gary Rossington and Allen Collins formed the Rossington-Collins Band, which featured various other Skynyrd members. A little while later, drummer Artimus Pyle formed his own band. Both groups were active in the early '80s, with Collins releasing his own album in 1983, but tragedy struck again in 1986 when Collins suffered a car accident that left him paralyzed. Rossington carried on briefly, before re-forming Skynyrd. Highlights from these three post-Skynyrd bands, plus a solo cut by Steve Gaines, the guitarist who joined Skynyrd for the Street Survivors album, are compiled on 1999's Solo Flytes, a 17-track collection that tells everything that needs to be told about this period in the band's history. Neither the Rossington-Collins Band (which dominates this disc with 11 songs), the Artimus Pyle Band, nor the Allen Collins Band made any classics, but they were entertaining Southern rock outfits. By and large, the music on Solo Flytes is generic material in the best sense — meaning that it typifies its genre — but it suffers from songwriting that is not only weaker than Ronnie VanZant's, but not as good as that of .38 Special, the most popular Southern rock band of the early '80s. That said, dedicated fans of Lynyrd Skynyrd will likely find this interesting and, by and large, pretty enjoyable. It fills in some gaps nicely, pulling the best songs from records that were well-done but uneven.
Formed: 1965 in Jacksonville, FL
Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s