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Ronnie Van Zant: Requiem for a Simple Man

John Swenson, Rolling Stone, 1 December 1977

I LAST SAW Ronnie Van Zant, Lynyrd Skynyrd's leader and prime mover, a year ago on a rainy Monday night in New York City. Van Zant was sitting at the corner table in the City Squire Hotel bar with his guitarists, Gary Rossington and Allen Collins, and Leslie West, the ex-Vagrants and Mountain guitarist who'd guested with the band the night before at the Beacon Theatre. West wanted to join Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Van Zant was bargaining with him shrewdly, more like a farmer splitting chores than an upwardly mobile rock star drawing up contract terms. At one point Ronnie drew West out to ask the question: "Why can't a Yankee play with a southern band?"

Total word count of piece: 932


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