Allen Collins

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.”

Collins suffered a broken neck and a severely injured right arm in the plane crash. His recovery was lengthy, but he eventually was able to play again and formed Rossington-Collins Band with fellow Skynyrd guitarist/founder Gary Rossington. The new band released two albums in the early ’80s and found decent success in the wake of the Skynyrd hiatus. But, Collins’ wife, Kathy, died unexpectedly in 1980 and the trauma accumulating in his life started to become more than Collins could deal with. Rossington-Collins Band broke up and he formed Allen Collins Band with former Skynyrd bandmates Billy Powell and Leon Wilkeson. But that was short-lived.

In 1986, Collins wrecked his car while under the influence of alcohol. The accident killed his girlfriend at the time and left the musician paralyzed from the waist down and with limited use of his arms. With his musical career now taken from him, Collins was unable to perform with the reunited Skynyrd, which reformed in 1987. Instead, he served as music director and would open concerts for the band by talking to the audience about the dangers of drinking and driving. His health continued to suffer and, in 1990, Allen Collins died of pneumonia and complications from his paralysis. He was 37.


Riverside Memorial Park – Jacksonville, FL

Specific Location

In the north section of the cemetery – across Normandy Blvd. from the chapel – enter and stay to the right until you are even with the white statue of the crucifixion in the middle of the section on your left. Walk toward this statue and when you are about halfway to it, Allen is buried on your left (south) alongside his wife.

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