April 3, 2015 – Robert Lewis “Bob” Burns Jr. was born November 24, 1950 in Jacksonville, Fla. He took up drumming after watching the Beatles perform on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964 and soon after in that same year was invited to join Ronnie van Zant, Albert Collins and Gary Rossington to become a founding member and original drummer of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Burns plays on the band’s earliest demos, recorded in 1970, but on the album Skynyrd’s First and… Last, a collection of early demos, the drum parts of the songs recorded in 1971 are played by Rickey Medlocke. That album also contains songs recorded in 1972 which feature Burns on drums, suggesting that Burns may have left the band in 1971 and had returned by 1972. During a brief period in the early 1970s, Medlocke occasionally played alongside Burns on drums for live shows, a two-drummer line-up similar to The Allman Brothers Band. Medlocke later took up guitar and joined Skynyrd in the late 1990s as one of the three lead guitars.
In addition to Skynyrd’s First And… Last, Burns also played on the band’s first two official albums: (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd) and Second Helping. Burns left in 1974 due to being overwhelmed by life on the road, and was replaced by Artimus Pyle. In 1996, he participated in a performance to promote Freebird: The Movie.
On March 13, 2006, he rejoined Lynyrd Skynyrd for one performance as he played alongside Gary Rossington, Billy Powell, Ed King, Artimus Pyle and the Honkettes at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.
Burns died on 3 April 2015 in a car accident, when his car hit a mailbox and tree on a sharp curve in Bartow County, Georgia. He was 64 years old.