Larkin Allen Collins Jr. (July 19, 1952 – January 23, 1990) was one of the founding members and guitarists of Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, and co-wrote many of the band's songs with late frontman Ronnie Van Zant. He was born in Jacksonville, Florida.
Collins started playing guitar at 12 years of age, with a few lessons from his stepmother, Leila Collins, a country-and-western guitarist, teaching him a few notes, and receiving his first guitar and amplifier from his father after a falling-out between the two.
Collins and lead singer Ronnie Van Zant co-wrote many of the biggest Skynyrd hits, including "Free Bird", "Gimme Three Steps", and "That Smell". On the "Free Bird" studio version, which appeared on Skynyrd’s debut album, Collins played the entire solo himself on his Gibson Explorer, with Rossington playing rhythm on his Les Paul, “Bernice,” and adding the slide fills on his SG.
Allen Collins died on January 23, 1990, from chronic pneumonia, a complication of the paralysis. He is buried beside his wife in Jacksonville, Florida.In 2006, Collins was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
In 2003, Gibson Guitars honored Allen with a limited edition Explorer. The guitar is made of African limba wood (korina) and features an aged finished, Maestro vibrola, and classic humbucking pickups.