|Also known as||Cassie Gaines|
|Born||January 9, 1948|
Seneca, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||October 20, 1977 (aged 29)|
Gillsburg, Mississippi, U.S.
Gaines was invited by JoJo Billingsley and Ronnie Van Zant to join Lynyrd Skynyrd as a backup singer. She had never heard of the band at the time, so Billingsley lent her a copy of the band's first two albums: (Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd) and Second Helping. In late 1975, Gaines, Billingsley, and Leslie Hawkins formed The Honkettes, a female gospel vocal trio for Skynyrd.
On October 20, 1977, a Convair CV-240 carrying the band between shows from Greenville, South Carolina, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, crashed outside of Gillsburg, Mississippi. The crash killed Ronnie Van Zant, Steve and Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, as well as pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray. Gaines had initially refused to board the flight and was convinced by other members against her better judgment. Her hesitation was due to small fire on one of the engines the previous day, but due to ribbing from her colleagues she canceled a commercial flight ticket she had purchased.
Gaines survived the initial accident but bled to death while rescuers attempted to reach the accident site and remove victims for medical treatment. According to controversial claims by survivor Billy Powell, Gaines bled to death after the accident in Powell's arms from deep lacerations.
Cassie and Steve Gaines were buried in Orange Park, Florida.
On February 15, 1979, the mother of Steve and Cassie, also named Cassie LaRue Gaines, was killed in an automobile accident near the cemetery where Steve and Cassie are buried. She was buried near her children.
- "» Died On This Date (October 20, 1977) Cassie Gaines / Lynyrd Skynyrd The Music's Over". themusicsover.com. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
- US NTSB Report on Plane Crash; NTSB; U.S. Government report; retrieved February 2016
- "Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash site draws a pilgrimage". NOLA.com. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
- Simmonds, Jeremy (2012). The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars: Heroin, Handguns, and Ham Sandwiches. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. pp. 101–102. ISBN 978-1556527548.
- Talevski, Nick (2010). Rock Obituaries: Knocking on Heaven's Door. Omnibus Press. pp. 191–192. ISBN 9780857121172.
- "Killing three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd: Apparently in 1977, Aerosmith's flight crew inspected an aircraft for the band. They said no & that plane crashed on October 20, 1977". The Vintage News. 2016-05-10. Retrieved 2018-08-23.