Leon Wilkeson

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by ChaosGwar, May 11, 2002.

  1. You know, the bassist for Lynyrd Skynyrd.

    What does everyone think about this guy? He is one of my favorite bassists, and one of my biggest influences. Known to use a range of basses (Gibson Firebird, Fender P, and Fender Jazz) and got great tone out of all of them. He cuts through the mix with ease, even with two, and sometimes three guitars, and a piano. His basslines are fun and entertaining, and not too complex. I'd say he rivals bass legends such as John Paul Jones, Geezer Butler, and Geddy Lee, but gets virtually no mention here at TB.

    Discuss. :D
    10cc and JMacBass65 like this.
  2. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I agree, he was a great bass player. I've played a lot of Skynyrd songs over the years, and love playing his lines. My favorites are "I Know a Little", "Whiskey Rock-a-Roller", and "Tuesdays Gone" (he only played on the live recording of "Tuesdays Gone", another bass player did the studio version). I would have to say that he was one of my biggest influences. I've stolen a lot of ideas from him...;)
    Guiseppe likes this.
  3. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Yep, Leon was a great player and a super nice guy. I had the pleasure of being introduced to him by a Jacksonville guitar player I worked with. He's a vet of a legendary band, I'm your standard bar band road dog. He treated me like his next door neighbor...he said "lemme buy you a beer, I'll always drink with a bass player". Sat down with me and did exactly that.

    He is definitely highly underrated and under recognized...I think in part because of the individual members of LS, his story has been deemed less newsworthy than the others for some reason. Maybe it's because they were considered such a "guitar band" (even though they also had one of the best piano players on the planet).
    P. Aaron, 10cc and JMacBass65 like this.
  4. DareDevil


    Feb 17, 2002
    Southport, FL
    I was listening to "Gimme three steps" when I decided I wanted to play bass. I was just listening to him just tear it up and I was like "damn, that's what I want to do."
  5. cheezewiz


    Mar 27, 2002
    Leon was definitely the man. He was one of my all time favorite bassists. Check out his work on the two Rossington Collins albums that came out after the recovery from the plane crash. Excellent stuff....
  6. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Anybody ever read the artical that Spin magazine did on Skynyrd a few years back.......somebody on the tour bus slit Leon's throat while he was sleeping, he didn't know if it was a fellow band member or his wife........scary!
  7. Funkster


    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    I forget how great Anytime Anyplace Anywhere is, I just put it on since we were talking and man that is got to be up there with my top 5 albums!

    Gimme Back My Bullets is some awesome listening!
    Leon is definitly one of the best Pick players out there. Saw them in 76, Saw Rossington Collins twice in 81, 82, Seen the Allen Collins Band in 84, I seen the reunion tour in 91 when Ed King was on tour with them, and a few more times since. Leon will surely be missed by all! RIP
  8. Skynyrd is playing at the Stanislaus county fair on July 29th.

    I won't be able to go, bummer cuz its only an hour from here. :( Do you know who is playing bass for them now? Is it still Ed King?
  9. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Ed King is a guitarist, not a bassist. Has he been filling in on bass? If so, this would answer a question I've had since Leon's death: Will they continue as Skynyrd?

    I'd been told that they had an agreement years ago that dictated the name could only be used if there were at least 3 original members in the band. If I'm not mistaken, Billy Powell, Leon, and Gary Rossington were the only originals left on recent outings. Ed King had retired (again), and Ricky Medlocke and one of the guys from the Outlaws (Huey Thomason?) were touring.

    Anybody know?
  10. Name a Skynyrd tune and I've probably played it. I haven't kept up too much with them post-crash, but the pre-crash group is one of my all-time favorites. The first band I was in was practically a Skynyrd tribute band. I don't seem to get tired of listening to or playing that stuff.

    In my current band we're trying to stay away from tunes that have been done to death. That leaves out stuff like Sweet Home, 3 Steps, Freebird, etc. We did, however, add Ain't No Good Life to the list and rehearse it the other night.

    I bought a CD called Collectybles a while back. It's got a couple interesting recordings I hadn't heard before including a Freebird with harmony vocals. I always thought it could've use it.

    Anyway, about Leon, I like what he did. I've stolen a lot from him.
  11. Leon left LS for a short while, and Ed King played bass on at least one album. From the Greatest Hits CD, I can tell you he was the bassist on the recordings of "Gimme Three Steps" and "Simple Man." That might mean he was the bassist on the enite "Pronouced..." album, but I don't know.

    LS also had one other bassist, Greg Walker. The only credit I have seen for him is "Comin' Home" from the "Skynyrd's First and ... Last" album.

    Anyhow, these are the credits as listed on the "all time greatest hits" cd, so I could be wrong.

    I'll do a search and see if I can get their current line up for the tour.
  12. Funkster


    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    You are right Ed played bass on most of Pronounced! and Ronnie played some drums for the departed Bob Burns on Pro also, Bob came back for 2nd Helping but departed again before that record was finished. There were a few other funky things that happened in the old day's of Skynyrd.
    Ricky Medlock has been around the Skynyrd camp most of his playing life as well as Thompson, Maybe not on album but in spirit and friendship.
    Pick up the skynyrd boxset there are some cool out-takes and it comes with a 5 or 6 page booklet on the whole story of the band.
  13. Taken from www.lynyrdskynyrd.com

    Q: Who are the current members of Lynyrd Skynyrd?
    A: Current members are guitarist Gary Rossington, keyboardist Billy Powell, bassist Ean Evans, Rickey Medlocke (who played drums with Skynyrd for a short time in 1971) from Blackfoot on guitar, Hughie Thomasson from The Outlaws also on guitar, Johnny Van Zant on vocals, and Michael Cartellone on drums. Dale Krantz Rossington (from the Rossington Collins Band) and Carol Chase are singing background vocals.

    mchildree, only two are original band members, Rossington and Powell, so I dunno about that agreement. I didn't find anything on their official site either.
  14. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    If you can find the Spin artical check it out!.....it talks about the agreement they reached with Ronnie VanZants widow, that if they wanted to ues the Skynyard name they had to have at least three original members.....they probably could get around that by using Medlocke........plus she gets three percent of the gross[not net] of their tours. It's in her best interest for the band to keep going:D
  15. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Leon was a great, tasteful bassist. Some of Skynrds tunes had some really unorthdox rythms. (I've Been Your Fool, and their cover of Gimme a T for Texas come to mind), which he pulled off flawlessly.

    It never fails, if my band is having trouble getting the crowd going, all we have to do is break into Gimme Three Steps and everyone's out on the dancefloor. (Though I was once told that it wasn't Leon who did the bass part for GTS, it was supposably one of the guitarist)
  16. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    It was Ed King, who played bass on most of the first album because Leon quit the band just before they recorded it (he rejoined right after). Ed didn't play on "Tuesday's Gone" however, another bass player did (I forget his name). "Tuesday's Gone" has a really great bass line, whoever it was that played it was very good.
  17. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    I'm bringing this thread back from the dead because I've just found this and I must say that I'm really impressed with the quality of Mr. Wilkeson's playing. Never paid enough attention to this bassline and now I think it's really worth transcribing and studying it. Very cool! :bassist: :cool:
  18. Hamrhed


    Dec 26, 2007
    I couldnt agree more! Leon was the glue that held that band together for years- you are right: he deserves many more props than he is given here... R.I.P. Leon
  19. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    IIRC, the bassist who replaced Leon after his death, just recently passed on as well.
  20. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    If I,m not mistaken, there is only one remaining survivor left, that being Artimus Pyle the drummer. Even the replacement guys are dropping dead, Ean Evans, wilkersons replacment recently departed. We used to do "Poison Whiskey" that was a groovin tune.