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Edward C. King is best-known as the guitarist for
psychedelic rock band Strawberry Alarm Clock and Southern rock band
King was one of the founding members of Strawberry Alarm Clock, formed
in Los Angeles in the mid-1960s. The band's largest success was with a
song that King co-wrote, "Incense and Peppermints" (but, along with
keyboardist Mark Weitz, did not get credit). The song reached #1 on the
Billboard Hot 100 in October 1967. Their follow-up single, "Tomorrow",
reached #23 in January 1968.
King met the members of Jacksonville, Florida-based Southern rock band
Lynyrd Skynyrd when the band opened up for Strawberry Alarm Clock on a
few shows in the early 1968. It wasn't until 1972 that he joined Skynyrd,
replacing Leon Wilkeson on bass, who left the band briefly. Wilkeson
rejoined the band, and King switched to guitar, creating the
triple-guitar attack that became a signature sound for the band.
His guitar playing and songwriting skills were an essential element to
the band's first three albums: Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd, Second
Helping and Nuthin' Fancy. King co-wrote the Skynyrd hit song "Sweet
Home Alabama" and it is his voice you can hear counting off the tune
before launching into his famous Stratocaster riff. Other songs that
King wrote or co-wrote the music for include "Poison Whiskey", "Saturday
Night Special", "Mr. Banker", "Swamp Music", "Whiskey Rock-a-Roller",
"Railroad Song", "I Need You", and "Workin' For MCA".
King decided to leave the band in 1975 during the 'Torture Tour'. He was
replaced in 1976 by Steve Gaines, who was killed in a plane crash along
with singer Ronnie Van Zant on October 20, 1977. Coincidentally, Gaines
and King share the same birthdate.
King was one of the guitarists for the reunited Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1987,
and played a major role in the reunited band. He was forced to leave
Lynyrd Skynyrd again in 1996 due to congestive heart failure. He left on
the basis that he would rejoin once he regained his health, but the band
did not allow him to rejoin.
King, along with all pre-crash members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, were inducted
into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. He now lives in Nashville,
TN and is "quite happily retired".