Cassie Gaines

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Cassie Gaines
Also known as Cassie Gaines
Born (1948-01-09)January 9, 1948
Seneca, Missouri, U.S.
Died October 20, 1977(1977-10-20) (aged 29)
Gillsburg, Mississippi, U.S.
Genres Southern rock
Years active 1975–1977
Labels MCA
Associated acts Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Honkettes

Cassie LaRue Gaines (January 9, 1948 – October 20, 1977) was an American singer, best known for her work with Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.


Gaines was invited by JoJo Billingsley and Ronnie Van Zant to join Lynyrd Skynyrd as a backup singer. She had never heard of Skynyrd at the time, so JoJo lent to her a copy of the band's first two albums: (Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd) and Second Helping. In late 1975, Cassie, JoJo, and Leslie Hawkins became The Honkettes, a female gospel vocal trio for Skynyrd.

When Lynyrd Skynyrd was in need of a guitar player to replace recently departed Ed King, Cassie recommended her younger brother, Steve, who joined the band soon after.

On October 20, 1977, a Convair CV-240 carrying the band between shows from Greenville, South Carolina, to Baton Rouge, 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.[1]

Cassie and Steve Gaines were buried in Orange Park, Florida. They are the subject of the 2001 song "Cassie's Brother" by alt-country band Drive-By Truckers.

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.


  1. ^ US NTSB Report on Plane Crash; NTSB; U.S. Government report; retrieved February 2016

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