Billy Powell

billy powell RKBBorn in Texas, Billy was part of a military family and spent several childhood years in Italy. When his father passed, the family moved to Gainesville, Florida. he began taking lessons from a local teacher who felt he was such a natural that he didn’t even need a teacher

he attended a community college, where he majored in music theory

Billy started as a roadie with LS around 1970, but the band members were unaware he was even a keyboard player until he sat down at a piano one evening  between sets when Skynyrd was playing at a prom. He played his own piano  arrangement of  “Free Bird”  while they listened.  Incredulous, they said they were looking for a keyboard player and he had the job

The band was signed to MCA records in 1973, and their popularity soared for the next few years. 3 days after the release of the 5th studio album Street Survivor, the band’s plane crashed in Mississippi, killing several band members. Billy had suffered severe facial trauma, but was able to attend the funeral of his fallen bandmates.

Lynyrd Skynyrd was disbanded until the reunion in 1987. During this hiatus, Billy was in a Christian band called Vision

In 2007, Billy played on All Summer Long, kid rock’s summer anthem

Sadly, in 2009, Billy called 911 complaining of shortness of breath, but passed away before the medics arrived

LS wrote and recorded the song “gifted hands’ as a tribute to their late, great keyboard player