Ronald Wayne Van Zant was born on 15 January 1948, in Jacksonville, Florida USA, to Lacy and Marion Van Zant. He was a singer, best known as the lead vocalist, primary lyricist and a co-founder of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. He was killed in a plane crash in 1977.
A famous singer, how rich was Ronnie Van Zant? According to sources, Van Zant had established a net worth of over $2 million, his wealth having been earned during his music career.
Ronnie Van Zant Net Worth $2 Million
Van Zant grew up in Jacksonville, along with five siblings including musicians Johnny and Donnie Van Zant. He attended Jacksonville’s Lee High School, excelling in baseball and dreaming of becoming a professional baseball player one day. However, his passion for music was stronger, which led him to learn to play piano and guitar while still a child.
In 1964 being aged 16, Van Zant became the lead singer of a group called Us. Shortly after, he formed a band of his own, with his teenage friends Bob Burns, Gary Rossington, Allen Collins and Larry Junstrom. Initially named My Backyard, the bad changed its name to Noble Five and went on to land gigs at local dances. Several name changes followed, and by 1970 the band went by the name Lynyrd Skynyrd, which stuck. They performed at bars, held local concerts and opened a number of national acts, gaining popularity by creating a distinctive southern sound.
After a lineup change, Lynyrd Skynyrd was discovered by the legendary Al Kooper of Blood, Sweat & Tears in 1972, who signed them to his Sounds of the South label under MCA Records, and produced their first album “(Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd)” in 1973; the album sold more than a million copies and was certified gold. Its single “Free Bird” became an instant hit, reaching #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Van Zant’s net worth started to rise.
Their next album called “Second Helping” came out in 1974, reaching #12 on the Billboard album chart. The gold and multi-platinum album contained what has been considered the band’s most popular song, “Sweet Home Alabama”, a reply to the two Neil Young songs, “Alabama” and “Southern Man”, which dominated the charts and boosted the band’s popularity. Van Zant’s wealth was significantly improved and he was on his way into rock history.
Two more albums followed, the 1975 “Nuthin’ Fancy” and the 1976 “Gimme Back My Bullets”, but failed to reach the success of their predecessors. Around this time the band’s lineup changed again, and with new third guitarist Steve Gaines, and a trio of female backup singers, Lynyrd Skynyrd released their fifth album, “Street Survivors” in 1977. It was their first top five album, containing the hit singles “What’s Your Name” and “That Smell”. Only three days after the album’s release, the band arranged a flight to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to perform at LSU; however, the plane crashed, killing Van Zant, backup singers and siblings Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick and two pilots, and causing the other band members and staff serious injuries. Van Zant was only 29 at the time he died.
Following the accident, Lynyrd Skynyrd disbanded, although some members later went on with their musical careers, and in the late 80s the band reunited, and Van Zant’s brother Johnny has since been the lead singer and primary songwriter.
When it comes to his private life, Van Zant married Nadine Inscoe in 1967, and they had one child, singer Tammy Van Zant. After their divorce in 1969, he married Judy Seymour in 1972, with whom he also had one child, and with whom he remained in marriage until his death in 1977. The legendary singer was often involved in controversies, mostly due to his uncontrolled drinking. He was arrested many times, mainly for brawling and misconduct, such as throwing a table out of a hotel room window.
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