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Rossington formed the band as a teenager with friends Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, Larry Junstrom and Bob Burns in the summer of 1964. Skynyrd gained national exposure starting in 1973 with the release of their first album pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd and hit single "Free Bird". They disbanded in 1977 when a plane crash killed 3 band members.
Rossington's rhythm and lead duties in the band have yielded many memorable guitar parts, including the lead work on "Tuesday's Gone" and the slide guitar for "Free Bird". Rossington also provided the guitar work for the popular "Simple Man".
In September 1976, Rossington was involved in a car crash. He had just bought a new car, and crashed it into an oak tree while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The band was due to go on tour in a couple of days, but had to postpone this tour due to Rossington's accident. The band members were not at all pleased with Rossington, and fined him $5000 for the delay caused to the band's schedule. Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Allen Collins wrote the song "That Smell" based on the crash and Rossington's influence of drugs and alcohol at the time.
"That Smell" turned out to be a smash hit with Skynyrd's fans. After the incident, Van Zant realized how much drugs and alcohol was affecting his band, quit both substances subsequently and enforced a strict 'no drugs/alcohol' rule during all future tours that the band went on.
In 1980, Rossington co-founded The Rossington-Collins Band with Allen Collins. The band released two albums, but disbanded in 1982 after the death of Allen Collins' wife, Katie.
Gary Rossington still plays with a reformed Lynyrd Skynyrd. Gary and keyboardist Billy Powell are the only two original band mates left in the reformed band.
Gary and Dale Krantz-Rossington have had two daughters, Mary & Annie. Their side project, the Rossington Band, opened for Lynyrd Skynyrd during their 1987-88 reunion tour. The Rossington Band released the following albums: Returned to the Scene of the Crime, 1986 and Love Your Man in 1988.
Gary Rossington and wife Dale Krantz-Rossington were unable to go on the Gimme Three Days Cruise in January 2007 due to Gary being ill.