"Sweet Home Alabama" Writer Dies At 68

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"Sweet Home Alabama" Writer Dies At 68

August has been a tough month for music fans. Within the last two weeks alone, we've lost the legendary Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin as well as Huntress lead vocalist Jill Janus.

Unfortunately, the deaths did not end there.

On August 23, it was announced that Ed King, former member of the iconic band Lynyrd Skynyrd, died the day before. He was 68 years old.

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"It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of Ed King who died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee on August 22nd, 2018," read a statement posted on Facebook. "We thank his many friends and fans for their love and support of Ed during his life and career."

King rose to fame as one of the founding members of Strawberry Alarm Clock, a psychedelic rock band known for their number one hit in the 60s, "Incense and Peppermints."

In 1972, he joined Lynyrd Skynyrd as their third guitarist, and was part of the band's first three albums, Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd, Second Helping, and Nuthin' Fancy.

Along with bandmates Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant, he co-wrote one of their most popular tunes "Sweet Home Alabama." During the song's intro, you can hear his guitar riff as well as his voice counting off "1, 2, 3."

The California-born musician and Van Zant had a continuous row, which pushed him to leave the drama as well as the band behind in 1975, two years before Van Zant was killed in a plane crash, putting an end to the band's dominance of the 70s era.

"I'm the hippie from Southern California. I'm not digging the violence part," King said in the documentary If I Leave Here Tomorrow: A Film About Lynyrd Skynyrd, while recalling an incident that occurred during a show in Pittsburgh.

"Ronnie and my guitar roadie who changed my strings were thrown in jail in Ann Arbor. They didn't arrive ... until 10 minutes before we went on. I had to play on old strings and I broke two strings during "˜Free Bird.' After, Ronnie was riding me, and a lightbulb went off and I said, "˜That's it.' I went back to my room, packed up my stuff and left."

In the same documentary, Rossington spoke out about how King was different from the rest of the group.

"He'd stop and buy $100 worth of Slim Jims and have him in a briefcase and, driving an hour or two, you get hungry, he'd sell them to us and triple the price," he said.

Still, the only surviving original member had nothing but nice things to say after hearing the news of King's passing.

"I've just found out about Ed's passing and I'm shocked and saddened," he tweeted via the band's official Twitter account. "Ed was our brother, and a great songwriter and guitar player. I know he will be reunited with the rest of the boys in Rock and Roll Heaven. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."

Although no cause of death was officially released, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer reportedly battled lung cancer in the months leading up to his death.

King will be sorely missed. May he rest in peace.

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.