Published on August 28, 2013 by Amy
Rickey Medlocke (born February 17, 1950) is an American musician best known as the frontman/guitarist for the southern rock band Blackfoot and, more recently, as a drummer or singer (1970-71) and guitarist (from 1996) for Lynyrd Skynyrd.
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Being of Blackfoot ancestry, Medlocke was inducted into the Native American Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
Rickey Medlocke was born on February 17, 1950, in Jacksonville, Florida. He was raised by his paternal grandparents. His grandfather, Shorty Medlock,was a well-known delta blues musician and he taught his grandson to play a miniature banjo. Medlocke started performing onstage at age three, and his musical abilities increased over the years. He began teaching himself to play the guitar by age five and playing drums in Shorty’s band at age eight. Over the next several years Medlocke mastered the banjo, guitar, drums, mandolin, dobro and keyboards. He had a melodic singing voice and had taught himself to sing and play guitar at the same time. After graduating high school, Medlocke formed his first band, Blackfoot, where he was lead vocalist and lead guitarist.
Medlocke grew up with the founding members of Lynyrd Skynyrd. He recorded shortly with the 70′s era Lynyrd Skynyrd band occasionally playing drums or singing lead on a few songs for them in 1970: “One More Time”, “Preacher’s Daughter”, “Lend a Helpin’ Hand”, “Wino”, “White Dove”, “Comin’ Home”, “The Seasons”, “Ain’t Too Proud to Pray” and You Run Around. On occasion, Medlocke played alongside the band’s original drummer Bob Burns but came to desire the energy of a guitarist at the front of the stage. This resulted in his 1971 decision to reform Blackfoot. The band began touring and producing hit songs that included two written by his grandfather: “Train Train” and “Highway Song”, amongst songs written by others, until he finally decided to disband the group in the early 1990s.
For a while in the 1990s, Medlocke thought about pursuing other careers until he received a phone call in 1996 from Gary Rossington inviting him to rejoin Lynyrd Skynyrd as a lead guitarist and primary songwriter. Rossington asked Medlocke if he remembered how to play “Free Bird”, “Tuesday’s Gone”, and “Workin’ For MCA”, among others. Medlocke rejoined Skynyrd and has been a member since. Occasionally, Medlocke will step away from Skynyrd briefly to join musicians like Shooter Jennings on stage. He joined American Idol finalist Bo Bice on stage for a rendition of “Sweet Home Alabama” when the top three finalists from season four returned home.