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Legendary rocker Ronnie Van Zant's rare "Lucky Pants," photos & handwritten notes hit auction block
Ronnie Van Zant’s rise to fame and his untimely death at age of only 29 made for the most unfortunate rock star tragedy.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- GWS Auctions, the world-renowned record breaking entertainment memorabilia auction house has announced the “Artifacts of Hollywood & Music” auction to take place Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. PT.

In the late summer of 1974, a devoted fan named Daniel drove with friends to Louisville, Kentucky to see their favorite band, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Daniel’s friend worked for the limousine company that drove the band so he was assured to have some idea of their whereabouts. He knew they were staying at the downtown Holiday Inn and headed there where the tour buses were parked out back. After heading through the breezeway of the hotel, he would run right into lead vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, who was soaking wet and only wearing a towel. Without thinking Daniel pronounced he was his biggest fan, just wanted the band’s autographs and was invited by Ronnie to follow him around the corner. Blood and glass covered the sidewalk, curtains were billowing through a broken window and a “huge guy” was banging on the hotel room door screaming “God Dammit Billy open the door.”

The fan was witnessing a legendary night in rock n’ roll history, one that would be documented for many years as the band’s night of trashing the Holiday Inn hotel room.

Ronnie explained that Billy and Alan had gotten in a fight and Billy’s teeth were knocked out when he was pushed out the window. He then headed for his room, this is where Daniel gets more than he ever imagined. He then went back into the bedroom, rummaged through some clothes and pulls out a pair of jeans and hands them to Daniel. He tells Daniel “These are my lucky pants. I was wearing them the day we signed with MCA.” Gary Rossington asked Ronnie if he really wanted to give those away and Ronnie replied “Yes!” Ronnie Van Zant signed the pants writing across the pants “I wore these pants the day I signed with MCA – Ronnie Van Zant.” Rossington then wrote “I was by his side.” Artimus Pyle wrote “I’m here now.” The fans later accompanied the band to their show. Daniel would see the band over the course of the next three years and would be asked by Ronnie when they saw each other if he “was still taking care of his lucky pants.” In October of 1977 those meetings would come to an abrupt end when the chartered tour plane carrying him and his bandmates crashed before arriving to a scheduled appearance in Louisiana. Van Zant died in the plane crash.

A copy of the newsroom teletype which came across the AP wire will accompany the pants lot with handwritten notes by the fan giving the condition of each member that was on the plane. The handwritten notes read Leon Wilkerson – Critical; Allen Collins – Fair; Billy Powell – Fair; Artimus Pyle – Stable; Gary Rossington – Fair; R. Van Zant – Dead; Steve Gaines – Dead; Both Pilots – Dead; Cassie Gaines – Dead. Also accompanying the lot, will be a selection of personal photos taken of Ronnie Van Zant signing the pants and several other photos of the band members and performances. Photographs taken under black light showing more detail of the faded autograph will also accompany the lot.

Ronnie Van Zant’s rise to fame and his untimely death at age of only 29 made for the most unfortunate rock star tragedy. In 1973 Van Zant, along with his original bandmates signed with MCA and began releasing what was to become some of the world’s most widely recognized Southern rock and blues music.

Van Zant’s voice was what made songs like “Free Bird,” and “Sweet Home Alabama” perennial anthems of Southern Rock. Ronnie Van Zant remains a legendary icon in the world of music and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

Brigitte Kruse, Lead Auctioneer of GWS Auctions states “We have never seen anything like this. It is the amazing story and the uncanny photographic evidence that make these blue jeans capable of a world record on auction day. Ronnie Van Zant was legendary and to own such a remarkable piece of rock n’ roll history is unprecedented.”

The “Artifacts of Hollywood & Music” auction will also include a collection of legendary stars of music and Hollywood memorabilia including Elvis Presley’s personal jewelry, Marilyn Monroe’s necklace worn at the “Last Sitting;” Jacqueline Kennedy’s wool coat; several Whitney Houston personally owned dresses; Blake Shelton’s personal clothing and signed cowboy hat; a John Lennon signed lithograph and drawing; Elvis Presley’s personally owned pajamas; Roy Roger’s personally owned Western Boots; Judy Garland’s lock of hair cut during the filming of “The Wizard of Oz;” Ozzy Osbourne personally owned Skull ring; a secret code letter written by Elvis Presley to Priscilla Presley and much more!

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