Former [lastfm]Lynyrd Skynyrd [/lastfm]backing vocalist [lastfm]Deborah Jo White [/lastfm]has died of cancer at the age of 58. White, who was better known to fans as [lastfm]Jo Jo Billingsley[/lastfm], joined the group in 1973 and toured extensively with them until 1977.
White left the group just before the tragic plane crash that killed frontman [lastfm]Ronnie Van Zant[/lastfm] and a number of other key members. White got her start as a singer with southern rock group [lastfm]Oil Can Harry[/lastfm] before connecting with Lynyrd Skynyrd through a mutual friend.
“After the show, members of the band began leaving. I wondered if anyone would be left to meet. [Sound engineer Kevin Elson] went through some doors and then came back out. He led me through the same doors and that is where I met Skynyrd headman, Ronnie Van Zant,” she had told blog DownSouthJukin.com.
“Ronnie was sitting in a chair, bare feet propped up, and wearing a black Stetson with a rattlesnake band around it. He pushed the hat up and said, ‘She’ll do just fine.’ He then asked me if I would like to go on the road and sing with the band.”
White later became a Christian minister and rejoined the group briefly in 2006.