Ed King, a guitarist for the bands Strawberry Alarm Clock and Lynyrd Skynyrd, died on Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee, at the age of 68.
"It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Ed King who died in his home in Nashville, Tennessee on August 22, 2018," read a message on King's Facebook page. "We owe many friends and fans for their love and support for Ed during his life and career." Although a cause of death has not yet been specified, King had lung cancer and was recently in hospital.
King was one of the founders of Strawberry Alarm Clock, the sour rock band that was formed in King's hometown Los Angeles. Known for their hit single Incense and Peppermints from 1967, which King wrote with keyboardist Mark Weitz, Strawberry Alarm Clock opened for Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd during a series of shows in Jacksonville in 1968, which King introduced to its members, including the lead singer, Ronnie. Van Zant.
However, he would not join the band until 1972, when he briefly replaced the bassist Leon Wilkeson. After Wilkeson's return to the band, King moved to guitar, reinforcing the sound with three guitars that made the band synonymous. King wrote the famous guitar riff in Lynyrd Skynyrd & # 39; s Sweet Home Alabama and played on the first three albums of the band, pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd, Second Helping and Nuthin & Fancy, published in 1974, 1974 and 1975. King wrote or co-knew Lynyrd Skynyrd hits such as Poison Whiskey, Saturday Night Special and Swamp Music.
King & # 39; s exit of the band shortly after the release of Nuthin & # 39; Fancy can be found in the documentary If I Leave Here Tomorrow: A Movie About Lynyrd Skynyrd, released this year. In an interview with Gary James, King talked about the writing of Sweet Home Alabama with Van Zant, who died, together with the band members Steven and Cassie Gaines and the road manager of the band, Dean Kilpatrick, in a 1977 plane crash.
"We wrote that song in half an hour, but it took us about half a day to put it together," King said. "The song came very quickly, I started with that riff and Ronnie was sitting on the edge of the couch, and gave me this signal to roll it over again." Finally, after perhaps 10-15 minutes, he got up and sang couplet and a choir, then I just put the song together, I knew where to take it It was not very difficult All you wrote to him was pretty simple If he did not hit it in the first five or ten minutes , you would go to something else. & # 39;
Ten years after the death of Gaines and Van Zant, King joined the Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Tour alongside the surviving original members Gary Rossington, Billy Powell and Wilkeson, plus Artimus Pyle, Johnny Van Zant and Randall Hall.
In 2006 King, along with the early members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, was initiated into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. On Thursday Rossington released a statement about the death of his former band member. "I just heard about the death of Ed and I am shocked and sad," he wrote. "Ed was our brother and a great songwriter and guitarist, I know he will be reunited with the rest of the guys in Rock and Roll Heaven, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family."