The Top Five Lynyrd Skynyrd Songs of All-Time

Iconic southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd just announced the last leg of their final concert. The tour kicks off May 4 in West Palm Beach, Florida and will end in the band’s hometown of Jacksonville, Florida September 2 at EverBank Field. Singer Johnny Van Zant and guitarist Ricky Medlocke announced the “Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour” during the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguar’s annual “State of the Franchise” presentation April 21. The tour announcement promised the best of the band’s classic rock music and special guests, Kid Rock and Jason Aldean.

The tour honors the band’s fifth and final studio album, 1977’s platinum “Street Survivors”. The album was released just 3 days after a the band’s chartered airplane crashed killing three band members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines. The band’s assistant road manager and the pilot and co-pilot also died. Surviving band members and crew were badly injured. The plane crashed in a swamp near Gillsburg, Mississippi while carrying their band from South Carolina to Louisiana for their next tour date. The band has lived on touring with surviving members and Ronnie Van Zant’s brother Johnny. The legend of Lynyrd Skynyrd will live on for fans of the southern rock band.

Here is a look at the top 5 Lynyrd Skynyrd songs of all-time.

Freebird

Released in 1973 “Freebird” is Lynyrd Skynyrd’s most popular song. The song was written in honor of musician Duane Allman who died in a car accident in 1971. The song is considered the band’s signature song and is played in its 14 minute entirety at the end of every concert. Allen Collins wrote the melody and, according to band member Gary Rossington, Ronnie Van Zant wrote the lyrics in just a few minutes. The power ballad begins with a slow melody and, half way through, the guitar riff begins. It is one of the most requested rock songs to this day. The Billboard topping song is also featured at number 3 on Guitar World’s Greatest Guitar Solos.

Sweet Home Alabama

Sweet Home Alabama debuted in 1974 on Lynyrd Skynrd’s second album “Second Helping”. The song reached the top 10 on the US charts. It was written by Ronnie Van Zant in response to Neil Young’s Alabama and Southern Man which were critical of the American South’s history of slavery and racism. The song is about southern pride but adds an apology by the band for the south’s past history including satire and a mocking line about pro-segregation governor George Wallace. Kid Rock sampled the song in 2008 “All Summer Long”. The song topped the charts once more and is used today as the State of Alabama’s official slogan.

What’s Your Name

Ronnie Van Zant and Gary Rossington wrote What’s Your Name based on a true story. While on tour, the band members were drinking in a hotel bar when one of their roadies got in a fight over a girl. The band was kicked out of the bar but went to another room to continue their party. The song was the opening track on the band’s last album in 1977. The video was released after the plane crash that killed several band members. It features the band on tour with Ronnie’s brother Johnny with a behind the scene look at the tour and ends with Ronnie’s trademark hat resting on a microphone.

That Smell

That Smell was another hit song from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s final album. The song was written by Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins as a warning to his band mates to not get caught up in the world of drugs that came with the world of a touring rock band. Van Zant worried that the band’s drug and alcohol use was getting reckless and that members could die. Ironically, the plane crash occurred just after the album was released. The iconic Lynyrd Skynyrd song was featured in several films including “Joe Dirt”, “Blow” and “Wild Hogs”.

Gimme Three Steps

Gimme Three Steps was written by Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins and was featured on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s debut album. The song is a tongue and cheek play on a rock star’s life. When caught with another man’s go, the subject of the song begs for a few seconds to run for his life. Van Zant based the lyrics on an actual experience he had at a biker bar in Jacksonville, Florida. The woman’s boyfriend or husband caught Van Zant dancing with her and pulled a gun on him. Van Zant really begged the guy to give him a head start out the door.


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