Donnie Van Zant

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Donnie Van Zant
Van Zant in 2011
Van Zant in 2011
Background information
Birth nameDonald Newton Van Zant
Born (1952-06-11) June 11, 1952 (age 71)
Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active1968–2013

Donald Newton Van Zant (born June 11, 1952) is an American rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He is best known for being a member of the band 38 Special, from its formation in 1974 until 2013. He is the middle of three sons; his older brother Ronnie was the original lead singer for Lynyrd Skynyrd who died in a 1977 plane crash in Mississippi, and his younger brother Johnny has been the lead singer for Lynyrd Skynyrd since 1987. Donnie and Johnny Van Zant also had performed together as the group Van Zant. For a time, Van Zant considered getting out of the music industry and taking a higher paying job at the railroad, but was persuaded to stay in music by his older brother Ronnie who told him, "It's in your blood". With the formation of 38 Special, it was a last attempt at success in the music industry for Donnie.

According to a posting in March 2013 on the 38 Special website, "Donnie Van Zant has not been able to join the band's performances for the past six months. In accordance with his doctor's strict orders and due to health issues related to inner-ear nerve damage, he will not be able to join 38 Special onstage in the foreseeable future. Donnie will continue to write and record with the band." However, it was announced later in 2013 that he had officially left 38 Special, and was retiring.[1]


  1. ^ "WhistleStop music 2014: 38 Special". © 2015 Alabama Media Group All rights reserved. 2014. Retrieved May 12, 2015.

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