Today I am combining a Long Song Tuesday and an Album of the Week post. What group deserves such attention…the late great Lynyrd Skynyrd that’s who! Yes, I know that a group using that name continues to tour today but unfortunately the real Lynyrd Skynrd ended as a result of a plane crash on October 20, 1977 which killed three of the original members of the group including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant.
Lynyrd Skynyrd emerged from Jacksonville, Florida as a fully formed southern rock band that was ready to kick ass. They named themselves after their high school gym teacher and produced an amazing first album in 1973, Pronounced Leh’-nerd Skin-nerd, which is this week’s album of the week. Let’s listen to my favorite song from the album, Gimme Three Steps.
Although there were many good songs on the album, the one that continues to be most closely associated with the group today is Free Bird. Free Bird was a concert staple of the group and has to be listened to live to truly appreciate. I can’t take you back in time to hear it live but I can provide you with this amazing concert performance of Free Bird by the original group as our Long Song Tuesday post.
To personalize this post let me tell you a story about the one and only time I was lucky enough to see Lynyrd Skynyrd. It was the Summer of 1976 (Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama), the concert was an all day affair which unfortunately started late due to rain in the morning. Lynyrd Skynyrd was the closing act and didn’t make it on stage until around 10:30. Unknown to any of us at the concert, all concerts at Rickwood Field were required to end by 11:00 since it was located in a neighborhood. The concert promoter came on stage at 11:00 and told the band they had to quit playing. Much to their credit they ignored him and kept playing. Things escalated and the promoter ended up turning off the power to the band’s amps midway through Free Bird. The audience went apeshit and things quickly got out of hand. it was one of those situations where you start to fear for your life. As I was trying to get back to my car, the limo carrying the band was trying to drive through the crowd and ended up getting pelted with bottles and cans even though none of the situation was their fault.
Unfortunately, that was my one and only time seeing the group. On one hand, I am grateful that I got the opportunity to see the band at all but on the other hand I am extremely sad that I didn’t get to see a whole show. As an epilogue, to this day I seldom go to a concert in the south without someone yelling out a request for Free Bird (regardless of who is playing). Feelings run deep in the south and Skynyrd are legends!
So you can better appreciate the greatness of Lynyrd Skynyrd, please listen to the full Pronounced album.
In my humble opinion, nothing like them before, nothing like them since! As always, let me know what you think.