Chart Week: February 25, 1978
Song: “Falling” – LeBlanc and Carr
Chart Position: #28, 20th week on the chart. Peaked at #13 the week of April 1.

Normally I put my song grade at the end of these posts, but for this entry it seems best to offer the assessment up front. This is not a good song. In fact, it is borderline terrible. I’m sure a lot of people who were young and in love in 1978 remember it fondly. I was six when it was getting heavy airplay, so not sure how I felt about it then. I know that I do not like it now. It’s middle of the road, weightless, AM radio fluff. It strikes me as a lame, misguided attempt to thread the needle somewhere between an Eagles ballad and 10cc’s “I’m Not In Love.” Let’s call it a 2/10.

On this show, Casey related an awful story about the duo that performed it.

Lenny LeBlanc and Pete Carr served as an opening act for Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1977 Street Survivors tour. On October 20 the bands played a show in Greenville, SC. The headliners had their own plane for the tour, an aging Convair CV–240, which they would take to the tour’s next stop in Baton Rouge, LA.

Three of the band’s roadies decided to road trip to Baton Rouge rather than fly, and the band offered LeBlanc and Carr two of those open seats. However, at the last minute the roadies changed their minds and decided to fly. The guys in Lynyrd Skynyrd thought it wasn’t fair to boot LeBlanc and Carr after promising them a lift, but Lenny and Pete overheard the conversation and backed out on their own.[1]

Later that night, just before its scheduled landing in Louisiana, the plane ran out of fuel. The pilots attempted to land in an open field but overshot the field and flew into a line of trees. Six of the 26 people on the flight died, including LS lead singer Ronnie Van Zant. Most of the survivors were severely injured, including the two roadies who were flying in place of LeBlanc and Carr.

Thus the duo joined the Waylon Jennings Club of not being on a plane that crashed and ended the life other music legends.

Did their connection to that flight contribute to this being LeBlanc and Carr’s only chart single as a duo? Perhaps. Somehow, in the midst of Bee Gees/Saturday Night Fever mania, it clawed its way up to #13. Coincidentally, on this week’s chart Lynyrd Skynyrd’s first post-crash hit, “What’s Your Name,” was eleven spots higher at #17.

I’ve been sitting on this post for a year. I could never quite the tone I wanted last winter. I’m still not sure I nailed it. But as I brushed it up to finally get it posted, news broke that founding Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington had died. He was injured in that 1977 plane crash, breaking both legs, both arms, both wrists, both ankles, and his pelvis. He fell into drug addiction in the years after the crash as he struggled with immense amounts of pain. And he lived another 45 years. Props to him.

  1. What are the odds women were involved with the roadies’ abortive plans?  ↩