Rock Moment: “Free Bird,” Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1976

If you’ve ever been in a band you have probably encountered the jackass at the bar, who after a few beers, inevitably will yell out “play some Skynyrd.” Then after a few more drinks, he’ll scream “Free Bird” thinking it’s new and funny. When did all of this yelling out “Free Bird” nonsense start? I’m glad you asked.



In mid 70s, Lynyrd Skynyrd played the Fox Theatre in Atlanta and decided to record it for a live album. The result, One More from the Road, was released in September, 1976. The two-disc album included “Gimme Three Steps,” “Saturday Night Special,” the classic “Sweet Home Alabama,” and of course, a rousing 13-minute plus version of “Free Bird.” To introduce the song, singer Ronnie Van Zant, asked the crowd “What song is it you wanna hear?” The crowd screamed “Free Bird,” to which Van Zant responded “I heard it then,” and the jackass was born.  


The whole reason for this post in the first place is that I have had to listen to “Free Bird” quite a bit over the past few weeks. It’s become my six-year old son’s favorite song. He plays it constantly on Guitar Hero. He loves the long solo section (he was in the pool this weekend doing air guitar and singing it) and is very proud of himself that he can make it all the way through with very few mistakes. “YOU ROCK” is what the screen says when the song is over. I even had to put it on his MP3 player. Here’s to hoping he one day plays in the band, and doesn’t become “the other guy.”



MP3: Free Bird 


YouTube: Free Bird


Lynyrd Skynyrd History website


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