Half the band died in a plane crash!
Formed as My Backyard in Florida in 1964, Lynyrd Skynyrd changed their name in 1969 and released their debut in 1973.
That debut album had the unusual, but helpful title (*Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd*), and contained the iconic Free Bird.
Personally, I have never heard a band actually play Free Bird, but apparently, it’s very popular across the pond. Featuring a very long guitar solo, often concluding the band’s live shows, it apparently lasts for about 14 minutes.
Re-released as a live version, Free Bird re-entered the charts again in 1976.
The debut album sold 2 million copies and was followed by the suitably named Second Helping (1974). Here, we find another tune that has gained a worldwide reputation, Sweet Home Alabama.
Written as a response to Neil Young’s Southern Man, it dismissed the idea that everyone in the South is a racist and responsible for the slavery that occurred there.
Half a century later, Sweet Home Alabama still finds its place on most party bands’ set lists, especially if they’re in it to get paid.
Second Helping sold, just like the debut album, 2 million copies. Sweet Home Alabama sold many more millions, and a quick look at the Spotify numbers confirms it is still as popular, with 1.5 billion plays; it is three times as popular as Free Bird.
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s next album came in 1975, named Nuthin’ Fancy. It sold well, mainly thanks to the single Saturday Night Special and, of course, their two big hits from previous albums.
The next album, Gimme Back My Bullets (1976), didn’t do as well. However, a live album called One More From The Road, which came out the same year, did much better with 1.5 million copies and that very long version of Free Bird, re-entering the charts.
In 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd released Street Survivors. Three days later, the plane they chartered crashed, tragically killing the lead singer, Ronnie Van Zandt, and guitarist/lead singer Steve Gaines, along with the crew and Steve’s older sister and backing singer Cassie Gaines. The rest of the band miraculously survived.
Following the accident, the band’s record label released a series of compilations and live albums from tours, honoring the memory of their band members who passed away in the accident.
In 1991, they finally dropped a new studio album and continue to tour under the name to this day. I suspect they still play Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird.
Lynyrd Skynyrd tunes | Related pages
Sweet Home Alabama
You can learn how to play Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and the original recording.
| D5 Csus2 | G (fill) |
Big wheels keep on turnin’…