Allen Collins

Posted in Riverside Memorial Park with tags , , on May 23, 2022 by Cade

July 19, 1952 – January 23, 1990

There is something to be said about having one of the more tragic tales amongst the members of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd, considering the overall story arc of the ill-fated southern rock band. But guitarist Allen Collins – despite surviving the fatal 1977 plane crash – certainly could lay claim to it.

As a youngster in high school, Larkin Allen Collins Jr. was approached by classmates, singer Ronnie Van Zant and drummer Bob Burns, about joining their band, The One Percent. Collins had his own equipment and loved to play, so he joined. The One Percent would soon become Lynyrd Skynyrd and Collins, along with Van Zant, would co-write many of the band’s biggest hits including “Gimme Three Steps” and “Free Bird.”

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Cassie Gaines

Posted in Jacksonville Memory Gardens with tags , , on May 16, 2022 by Cade

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January 9, 1948 – October 20, 1977

Cassie Gaines enjoyed a typical childhood in Miami, Oklahoma. She was a cheerleader in high school and was known for her school spirit and for performing on stage. A love for performing led her to a career as a singer, ultimately landing an invitation to join the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd as one of their three backing singers…collectively known as “The Honkettes.”

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Steve Gaines

Posted in Cremated, Jacksonville Memory Gardens with tags , , , on May 9, 2022 by Cade

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September 14, 1949 – October 20, 1977

Steve Gaines was a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter who grew up in Oklahoma idolizing pioneer rock bands of the ’60s . It was after attending a Beatles concert as a teenager that Steve convinced his dad to buy him a guitar and the young virtuoso never looked back. He bounced around several bands throughout his late teens and early 20s, eventually recording a solo album with various bandmates called One in the Sun. In 1975, Steve’s sister, Cassie, joined the skyrocketing southern rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, as a backing vocalist. Around the same time, Skynyrd guitarist, Ed King, abruptly left the band. Down to two guitarists from their customary three, the band went looking for a replacement for King. Cassie suggested that her brother try out.

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Billy Powell

Posted in Riverside Memorial Park with tags , , , on May 2, 2022 by Cade

June 3, 1952 – January 28, 2009

Billy Powell was most widely known as the keyboard and piano player for the American southern rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Powell originated as a roadie for the fledgling band, but impressed the members with his piano playing during downtime. He was offered a position and went on to be one of the longest tenured members of the legendary group.

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Ronnie Van Zant

Posted in Jacksonville Memory Gardens, Riverside Memorial Park with tags , , , , on April 25, 2022 by Cade

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January 15, 1948 – October 20, 1977

Ronnie Van Zant was the oldest of three musical brothers from Jacksonville, Florida. In high school, Ronnie formed a band with classmates Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Bob Burns and Larry Junstrom. The band changed names a couple of times before landing on the name Lynyrd Skynyrd – a tounge-in-cheek nod to their gym teacher, Leonard Skinner. Van Zant served as the singer and primary lyricist. Continue reading

Paul Robeson

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , , on February 7, 2022 by Cade

April 9, 1898 – January 23, 1976

Paul Leroy Robeson was a staggeringly talented singer and performer. His definitive baritone voice led to landmark performances in New York, London and around the world. He starred notably in original Broadway productions of All God’s Chillun Got Wings and The Emperor Jones (both by Eugene O’Neill) and appeared in 4 different versions of Jerome Kern‘s quintessential hit, Show Boat, including the 1936 film version, which made famous his rendition of “Ol’ Man River.” Continue reading

Kitty Carlisle

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , on January 31, 2022 by Cade

carlisle1September 3, 1910 – April 17, 2007

If Kitty Carlisle’s legacy can’t be measured in quantity, it certainly can be measured in longevity. Her career spanned more than 70 years. The actress and singer spent her youth traipsing around Europe with her mother looking for a prince to marry. While she never found Prince Charming, she did get the chance to study at some of the top schools in Europe such as the Sorbonne in Paris and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. Her return to the U.S. led to Broadway where she would appear in shows in 7 different decades. Continue reading

Harold Arlen

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , , on January 24, 2022 by Cade

February 15, 1905 – April 23, 1986

“He wasn’t as well known as some of us, but he was a better songwriter than most of us and he will be missed by all of us.”  – Irving Berlin

Harold Arlen was a composer and widely regarded as one of the most successful pop-song writers of all time. He worked with all the great lyricists including Johnny Mercer, Ted Koehler, Ira Gershwin and Yip Harburg. He is one of the most prominent contributors to the Great American Songbook. Continue reading

Judy Tyler

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , on January 10, 2022 by Cade

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October 9, 1932 – July 3, 1957

On June 17, 1957, filming wrapped on Elvis Presley‘s new movie, Jailhouse Rock. Two weeks later, his young costar – an up-and-coming actress named Judy Tyler – was dead.

Tyler was born and raised in the New York City area. Encouraged by many in her entertainment-rich family, she began acting as a teen. She made regular appearances on the popular Howdy Doody television show and found work on Broadway. In 1955, she landed a starring role in Pipe Dream, a new musical from Broadway legends Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. Continue reading

Dwight “Heavy D” Myers

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , on January 3, 2022 by Cade

May 24, 1967 – November 8, 2011

Dwight Myers, known professionally as “Heavy D”, was a Jamaican/American rapper and actor who became popular in the late 1980s and throughout the ’90s and 2000s. As the front man for Heavy D & the Boyz, Myers’ rapping was featured in a string of gold and platinum records that were all Top 10 on the U.S. R&B charts. The group’s hits included “Big Tyme” and “Nuttin’ But Love.” Heavy D also performed with both Michael and Janet Jackson and rapped on a number of TV show themes in the ’90s including In Living Color and MADtv. Continue reading