Robert Burns Jr., the original drummer for Lynyrd Skynyrd, has died. According to a report from Billboard, he was in a car driving through Georgia late at night on Friday when the vehicle went off the road and hit a tree. He was 64.
Burns—along with Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, Gary Rossington, and Larry Junstrom—co-founded Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1964 (though the band went through a number of a different names before settling on a mocking tribute to a former gym teacher). Burns left the band in 1974 due to the pressures of touring, but he was around for its first two studio albums, (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-’nérd ‘Skin-’nérd) and Second Helping. That means, despite being with the band for only a short time, he had the honor of playing on some of its biggest hits, including “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Simple Man,” and, of course, “Free Bird.”
Rossington, who was Skynyrd’s original guitarist, posted a brief eulogy for his friend on Facebook (via Pitchfork), saying, “Well, today I’m at a loss for words, but I just remember Bob being a funny guy. He was just so funny, he used to do skits for us and make us laugh all the time, he was hilarious…My heart goes out to his family and God bless him and them in this sad time. He was a great great drummer.”
And because we wouldn’t do it any other way, here’s Burns reuniting with Lynyrd Skynyrd for the band’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony in 2006: