Lynyrd Skynyrd (pronounced /ˌlɛnərd ˈskɪnərd/ len-ərd-skin-ərd) 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 1968. The band rose to worldwide recognition on the basis of its 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.
The surviving band members re-formed in 1988 for a reunion tour with lead vocalist Johnny Van Zant, the younger brother of lead singer and founder Ronnie Van Zant. The re-formed band continues to tour and record with co-founding member Gary Rossington and core members Johnny Van Zant, along with guitarist Rickey Medlocke, who recorded with the band for a short time in the early 1970s. Drummer Michael Cartellone has recorded and toured with the band since 1999. Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 13, 2006.