Thirty four years ago today (October 20th) was the day that a plane carrying rock gods Lynyrd Skynyrd crashed in a Mississippi swamp, essentially killing the band's core line up.

Lead singer Ronnie Van Zandt, guitarist Steve Gaines, his sister and back up singer Cassie as well as the group's manager and both the plane's pilots were killed.

The band would eventually re form, re record, tour and undergo numerous lawsuits and personal conflicts.

I'm far too young to have witnessed the original line up live but I have on numerous occassions seen the current line up which has been fronted by Ronnie's younger brother Johnny Van Zandt for many years.

The last time was at the Minnesota State Fair when they opened for Kid Rock in 2009. It was, I thought, the best they'd ever sounded.

You wonder if at the time they at all realized just how resonating Free Bird would become.

For a glimpse of the band's legendary live performance power, check out this vid from 1973.