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Author Topic: #31: Lynyrd Skynyrd  (Read 3826 times)

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Offline shemps#1

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#31: Lynyrd Skynyrd
« on: December 01, 2004, 04:13:20 PM »
(NOTE: Music That Sucks is the correct opinion of the author. If you disagree then this Northern Man don't need you around, anyhow.)

In the 1970's, there was a popular movement in Rock music; a movement from the Dixon side of the Mason-Dixon line. Don't get me wrong, there have been plenty of Southern acts before then (Elvis, to name a big one), but they didn't have that certain redneck je ne sais quoi that the bands of the '70's had. At the forefront of the Redneck Rock movement is, of course, Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Allen Collins, and guitarist Gary Rossington formed a band named My Backyard while attending high school in Jacksonville, Florida. Later on, bassist Leon Wilkeson and keyboardist Billy Powell came aboard and Rock's answer to the Beverly Hillbillies was born. They changed their name to Lynyrd Skynyrd as a joke on their gym teacher Leonard Skinner, who apparently had a thing for punishing students with long hair. They added drummer Bob Burns and began playing throughout the South, but with little success. With the Stars and Bars displayed prominately behind them, they slowly began to gain a following. The band then got lucky in 1972, when they were spotted by producer Al Kooper during a gig in Atlanta and signed to MCA Records.

In 1973 they released their debut album, Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd. The album contains four songs of note, including "Tuesday's Gone", which is slower than the usual Skynyrd fare but prominantly displays Van Zant's slow Southern drawl that I tend to believe is over-exaggerated. I mean c'mon, we all know Southerners love to throw their accents into overdrive everytime a Yankee is within earshot. The song itself makes the listener think they've taken way too many Quaaludes. The second song worth mentioning is "Gimme Three Steps", which better displays Skynyrd's crappy redneck hard rock style. I can imagine a group of toothless banjo players slapping their knees to this little ditty. Next up is "Simple Man", a song in which Van Zant screams about his mother having told him to be a"simple kind of man". Well he certainly didn't have to worry about that.

The major song on this album, and the most popular Skynyrd song of all, is "Freebird". This is actually a good song, with an excellent triple guitar duel after Van Zant has finished singing, but the rednecks have taken the one good Skynyrd song and driven it so far in the ground it was last spotted in Beijing. "Freebird", sometimes its original 12 minute album version but mostly the chopped up radio version, continues to get heavy radio play on classic rock stations throughout the South. "Freebird" was also the most popular song on tour, with fans pratically begging the band to play it. On these tours the band would routinely use their wives (who were also their cousins or sisters) as backup singers. With "Freebird" playing pratically non-stop, Skynyrd took off and a slew of Redneck bands began popping up on the scene.

Late in 1973 the band opened up for the Who on their Quadrophenia tour. The tour, along with the success of "Freebird" helped propel their second album, Second Helping (1974) to #12 on the album charts. The major single on this album became their biggest hit on the charts, the Redneck Opus "Sweet Home Alabama". The single, in which Skynyrd takes umbrage with Neil Young and his hit song "Southern Man" (which depicts the lynching of a Black man in good ol' Dixie), made the Top Ten singles chart. Having been born and raised in Connecticut, I cannot feel the whole Southern vibe of this (or any other) Skynyrd song. In fact, it gets tiresome thirty seconds into the track. Yeah, you're Southern, you're proud; we understand that. Is that all you have to say?

In '75-'76, Artimis Pyle would replace Burns on drums and Skynyrd would release two more studio albums and a live album, to moderate success. They had a minor hit off of 1975's Nuthin' Fancy with the annoying "Saturday Night Special". 1976's Gimme Back My Bullets was considered a failure, and their fans thought the band was getting soft. A double-live album, One More For The Road got the band back on track chart wise, becoming their second album to make the top ten.

In October of 1977 the band released their sixth album, Street Survivors. The record-pressing machines had barely cooled off when a privately chartered plane taking Lynyrd Skynyrd from Greenville, SC to Baton Rouge, LA crashed near Gillsburg, MS. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and his sister/lover Cassie died and several band members were injured. The cover of Street Survivors had featured a picture of the band surrounded in flames, but the flames were taken away in future pressings. Just because people love freshly dead mucisians, the album became one of the band's biggest hits.

The ensuing years have not been kind to the surviving members of the band. A couple of bands that went nowhere were formed, Collins was in a car crash that left him paralyzed in 1986 and eventually killed him four years later. In 1987 the group reunited, replacing Van Zant with his younger brother Johnny. They went on a long reunion tour and began recording new material in 1991. During this time they were also made honorary colonels in the Alabama State Militia. I shit you not. The new Skynyrd eventually signed with the graveyard for washed-up '70's bands, CMC International, and continue to make sucky music that now no one but the most ardent redneck listens to. Perhaps Ronnie, Steve, and Allen got off lucky.

Lynyrd Skynyrd, music...that sucks!
"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish." - Unknown

Offline metaldams

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Re: #31: Lynyrd Skynyrd
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2004, 10:36:10 PM »
Unlike Springsteen, Skynyrd always came across as more sincere with the regional dialect they displayed.  I thought they were a great country/blues based hard rock band with lots of great guitar playing who have been met with more tragedy than any other band in the history of rock music.  Like 'em or not, nobody, save Michael Jackson, deserves to suffer what Skynyrd has gone through.

Tragedies not mentioned:

- Allen Collins lost his wife at a very young age in 1980.  I'm not 100% sure how, but I think she may have been pregnant.

- Bassist Leon Wilkenson died of a sudden heart attack in 2001 at the age of 49.

My favorite Skynyrd album:  SECOND HELPING

str8Nyuk

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Re: #31: Lynyrd Skynyrd
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2006, 08:04:31 PM »
  Surprized by the lack of response on Skynyrd...I have to conclude that there are few Southern Stooge fans. Since I now live in the South, I fully understand the love these folks have for the group....and I put Freebird very high on my list of favorite songs of all time, mostly due to the guitar sequence.

   The point you made about the over use of the accent, Shemps, is very correct. I have noticed that when there are no Yankees present, the accent is less pronounced...( I pass for a Reb sometimes, and hear all like a fly on the wall )

   But a 3rd of this country would dissagree with your points..IF they viewed this site, for whatever that's worth.

Offline vomit

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Re: #31: Lynyrd Skynyrd
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2009, 10:56:52 PM »
LS wouldn't be too bad if they were confined to southern stations ONLY!  As much as I like my father-in-law, he LOVES these guys (and Busch Light), and I just don't get it!  What the hell is wrong with America?  Blatz IS America's finest premium beer!
« Last Edit: January 14, 2010, 07:38:44 AM by vomit »
Specto Caelum!

Offline metaldams

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Re: #31: Lynyrd Skynyrd
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2009, 11:31:21 PM »
R.I.P. Billy Powell

Offline stoogerascalfan62

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Re: #31: Lynyrd Skynyrd
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2014, 09:52:17 AM »
I'll take the original studio recording of Freebird over the live version.

Offline vomit

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Re: #31: Lynyrd Skynyrd
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2014, 08:08:42 PM »
R.I.P. Billy Powell

5 years later...but indeed.
Specto Caelum!