1977 – Rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd's plane crashes
. Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American rock band best known for popularizing the southern hard-rock genre during the 1970s. Originally formed in 1966 as The Pretty Ones in Jacksonville, Florida, they then went through two name changes: The Noble Five and One Percent, before coming up with Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1969. The band rose to worldwide recognition on the basis of its driving live performances and signature tunes "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Free Bird." At the peak of their success, three members died in an airplane crash in 1977, putting an abrupt end to the band's most popular incarnation. Following a performance at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium in Greenville, South Carolina, on October 20, 1977 the band boarded a chartered Convair CV-300 to Baton Rouge, Louisiana where they were scheduled to appear at LSU the following night. Due to a faulty engine, the airplane ran low on fuel and the pilots were diverted to the McComb-Pike County Airport. After running out of fuel they attempted an emergency landing before crashing in a heavily forested area five miles northeast of Gillsburg, Mississippi. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray were killed on impact; the other band members (Collins, Rossington, Wilkeson, Powell, Pyle, and Hawkins), tour manager Ron Eckerman, and road crew suffered serious injuries.