Lynyrd Skynyrd

Forby Leonard Skinner was a PE teacher at Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville, Florida, who was a notoriously strict enforcer of the school's policy against boys having long hair. This made him a natural target for several of his pupils who formed a rock band in 1964, although they didn't finally settle on the name until five years later.

According to Wikipedia, Lynyrd Skynyrd's lead guitarist, Gary Rossington (the only founder member still in the band by 2009) "dropped out of school, tired of being hassled about his hair."

Coincidentally, there is a character named Leonard Skinner in the comedy song Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh, which was a No. 2 hit in the USA for its co–writer, Allan Sherman, in 1963. (It peaked at No. 14 in the UK.) Wikipedia states that this was another source of inspiration for the band's name. Allan Sherman was from Chicago, while Leonard Skinner (the PE teacher) was born and raised in Jacksonville – so it seems unlikely that either of them was aware of the other's existence, at least at the time the song was written and recorded.

© Haydn Thompson 2021