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From the GRITZ Vaults: It's Good to Be The King; Ed King of Lynyrd Skynyrd

Posted: Feb 24, 2009

Today I was listening to some random CDs, and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Second Helping came on. I had not heard it in a while, and it was sounding so good, it brought back a lot of great memories.

Then I started thinking about guitarist Ed King, all the different shows I’d seen him in, and remembering the honor I had a few years ago when he played an acoustic set with me at the Winters Brothers Summer Jam.

In the past, I have had two nice, long interviews with Ed. The first one, which I called “The King of Southern Rock,” hit gritz.net in 1999. In this conversation, he told me a lot of great Skynyrd stories, including one about how he moved from being the bassist to guitarist.

“One night, after the first album was done but not released, Ronnie came to me. I was sitting on my bed playing my Stratocaster. He put his arm around me and said “Ed...you’re really the worst bass player I’ve ever played with.” So the next day Ronnie and Gary went out to this ice cream factory where Leon was working. They asked him to return to the band. Two days later, with Leon on bass, we wrote our first two songs with the new lineup. “Sweet Home Alabama” and “I Need You”. Not bad for the first day”.


Then in 2001, we got “A Second Helping” of King, with more Skynyrd memories, as well as some funny stories about his pre-Skynyrd pop group, The Strawberry Alarm Clock.

“One time we flew from Jacksonville to Honolulu to do a gig for a Dick Clark show and then to Miami in the same day to rejoin the Beach Boys tour. I’d wondered what the hell that was that made me itch and scratch all the way there -- geez, it was torture. Found out I had my first case of crabs. Maybe I got some bad advice but I was told to shave the entire area and pick those little guys off with tweezers. So that’s how I spent my 8 hours in Honolulu. Definitely a high point.”

After the band was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ed treated us to his own personal journal from the big event, including insight into several people he met, including Kid Rock.

"He initiated a conversation and we spoke for a long time backstage. I was very impressed with this guy. How can you not like someone who knows the lyrics to the entire Skynyrd catalog? He calls rap music the 'blues music of this generation.' Very well spoken and he used much of what we talked about in his speech at the ceremony Monday night. Funny...he absolutely REFUSED to have a speech written for him or to write one himself. So he just winged it and used his notes."

Today we salute Ed King, one of Southern Rock’s finest guitar players, who just happens to be from California. The creator of one of the most instantly recognizable riffs in classic rock history, the opening lick to “Sweet Home Alabama.” Ed, you rock brother. Be sure to check out Ed's beautiful website at edking.net.

Keep it Real. Keep it Southern.

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copperhead says...

Ed I don't if you will read this., but in the late 60s Steawbeery Alarmclock played at this outdoor festaval at an old theme park fort. We opened up for you and thinking your band to be pop. You guys rocked with nice slide work. Our band was Cellar Wall. I had a double Bass set of drums that was so big the sound tecs didn;t have enough mikes for my kit. You were great and very nice to use kids. I could not have been more that 16 or 17

OhioGuy says...

Ed is a legend who contributed mightily to the Lynyrd Skynyrd sound. His pinch harmonics and slide playing are other worldly. It's safe to say that Ed and Billy were the missing ingredients that helped propel Skynyrd to the top. Ronnie sure knew how to pick 'em.

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