Undoubtedly, Lynyrd Skynyrd is one of the most well-known rock groups of all time. It was originally formed in 1966 in Jacksonville, Florida, with lead vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, guitarists Gary Rossington and Allen Collins, bassist Larry Junstrom, and drummer Bob Burns. Rossington, the last living founder of Lynyrd Skynyrd, passed suddenly on Sunday, March 5. Here is a list of the Top 5 Lynyrd Skynyrd Songs.
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The Ultimate List of Top 5 Lynyrd Skynyrd Songs
The song “Free Bird” is vital to the existence of rock music. The song, which Collins and Van Zant co-wrote, was motivated by a question Collins’ then-girlfriend had posed. They decided to use a bird as a symbol of freedom in their song, which they did.
In 1974, the song reached its highest position on the Billboard Hot 100, using Rossington’s distinctive slide guitar effect. One of the 500 Tracks That Shaped Rock and Roll displays in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame features “Free Bird”.
“Sweet Home Alabama”
The rock genre would be difficult to envision without “Sweet Home Alabama,” much like “Free Bird.” Born in the South, Van Zant and Rossington collaborated with former Lynyrd Skynyrd bassist Ed King to write the song that would quickly become the group’s anthem as a response to Neil Young’s “Southern Man,” which criticizes prejudice in the region.
The iconic guitar riff that inspired the song’s composition belongs to Rossington. He recalls having “this little riff” in a 2015 interview with Garden & Gun. Whilst we were waiting for everyone to arrive for practice, I kept playing the small plucking portion repeatedly. Play it again, Ronnie kept urging as he and I sat there. After that, Ed [King] and I composed the music, and Ronnie penned the lyrics.
“Call Me the Breeze”
J.J. Cale initially composed and recorded “Call Me the Breeze,” which was published in 1972. When they included it on their album Second Helping, Lynyrd Skynyrd made this song uniquely their own. “Call Me the Breeze,” though a cover, is one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s most recognizable songs.
“I suppose the biggest compliment a songwriter can receive is when somebody else sings your songs,” Cale shared in an interview with Performing Songwriter. “I’m more proud of the long list of people who have done my songs than, say, the money or the records I’ve made. When someone cuts your song—whether it’s good or bad—you feel great.”
“Saturday Night Special”
“Saturday Night Special” demonstrates how far ahead of their time Lynyrd Skynyrd was. The song, addressing the contentious subject of gun control, was written by Van Zant and King and released in 1975. Van Zant acknowledged owning guns, but the song claims that guns are only useful for forcing guys six feet into a hole.
The song made it to the top 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been featured in a variety of media, including the video game Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned and the soundtrack to the 1978 film Blue Collar, starring Richard Pryor.
“What’s Your Name”
Another of the band’s top 20 hits was the lead single from their 1977 album Street Survivors, which had the same name. The song, which was written by Van Zant and Rossington, is based on a real-life incident. The incident that led to their expulsion from the bar is described in the song as one of their tour crew members getting into a brawl there.
They made the most of it by heading to another pub and getting a bottle of champagne to have their own fun. The song was well-liked by listeners and peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.