Who is Artimus Pyle?
Artimus Pyle is a popular American musician known for his work as a drummer with the band Lynyrd Skynyrd. He was often called the ‘Wild Man’ of the group. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps for several years before he began his musical career. During this time, he worked as an avionics mechanic at various military bases. A few years after being honorably discharged, he joined the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. He made his debut in 'Saturday Night Special', a song from Nuthin' Fancy, the band's third album. He worked on several albums of the band such as 'Gimme Back My Bullets', 'Street Survivors' and 'Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991'. His most impressive works include 'Railroad Song' a song from the album 'Nuthin’ Fancy', as well as 'That Smell' from ‘Street Survivors.’ Later he also began recording and touring with the Artimus Pyle Band. He and his Lynyrd Skynyrd bandmates were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.
Childhood & Early Life
Thomas Delmer “Artimus” Pyle was born on 15th July 1948 in Louisville, Kentucky in the US. His father Clarence Pyle was a construction superintendent while his mother was a homemaker. His father had also served with the US Marines during the World War II. Artimus had a younger sister named Marilyn.
As a child, he was inspired by country music stars such as Frank Sinatra, Herbie Hancock and Patti Page. He learnt to play the drum from the radio by copying drummers such as Ringo Starr and Joe Morello.
Pyle studied at the Eastmoor High School in Columbus, Ohio, from where he graduated in 1966. Later, he also studied for some time at the Tennessee Technological University. It was while there that he received the name ‘Artimus’ because of his boyish face.
In 1968, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps, where he was soon promoted to private first class. He mostly worked as an avionics mechanic at several military bases. Eventually he rose to the rank of sergeant. He received an honorable discharge in 1971 after his father’s death in an accident.
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Artimus Pyle began his musical career in 1974 after he joined Lynyrd Skynyrd by replacing the original drummer Bob Burns. He made his recording debut in 'Saturday Night Special', a single from ‘Nuthin’ Fancy,’ the band's third album. The album was released in March the following year. It stood at ninth position on the US albums chart.
Pyle played drums for the band's fourth album 'Gimme Back My Bullets'. The album was released on February 1976. It was a success and stood at twentieth position on the US Albums Chart. Over the next few years, he also worked on the albums 'One More from the Road', 'Street Survivors' and 'Southern By the Grace of God'.
He was a survivor of the 1977 Convair CV-240 crash which killed some of his bandmates. The surviving members of the band reunited after two years for Charlie Daniels’ fifth annual Volunteer Jam concert, which was held in Nashville.
The surviving bandmates eventually formed the Rossington Collins Band. However, Pyle was forced to drop out because of a leg injury. Later in 1982, he stared recording and touring with the Artimus Pyle Band, along with Darryl Otis Smith and Steve Brewington. The band's albums include ‘Nightcaller’ (1983) and ‘Live from Planet Earth’ (2000).
Pyle’s more recent works include a guest performance in ‘Primitive Son’ an album by American singer Eli Cook. In 2017, he was supposed to publish his memoir ‘Street Survivor: Keeping the Beat in Lynyrd Skynyrd’. However, he has been unable to publish it because of a lawsuit against him.
‘Nuthin Fancy’ the third album of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd was the first album where Artimus Pyle played. The album peaked at the ninth position on the US Albums Chart, making it the band’s first work to reach the top ten. The tracks of the album included ‘Saturday Night Special’, ‘I’m a Country Boy’, ‘On the Hunt’, and ‘Railroad Song’.
Pyle also played for ‘Street Survivors,’ the band’s fifth studio album. It was released in October 1977. The album performed quite well on the charts and was a huge commercial success. The tracks included ‘What’s Your Name’, ‘One More Time’, ‘You Got That Right’ ‘I Never Dreamed’ ‘and ‘Ain’t No Good Life’. Unfortunately, just three days after the release of the album, the band’s airplane crashed, killing the pilot and some of the members.
Awards & Achievements
In 2006, along with the bandmates of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd, Artimus Pyle was inducted into the ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’.
Artimus Pyle has been married twice. He has three sons, two daughters, and two grandchildren.
His oldest son Christopher Chapel Pyle plays the trumpet, flute, guitar, and drums. His second son Marshall Daniel Pyle plays the drums and the guitar and is also a singer and a songwriter.
Artimus Pyle was charged with attempted sexual assault on two girls in 1993. However, he strongly denied the charges, and also claimed the allegations were made to extort money from the Lynyrd Skynyrd organization.