Lynyrd Skynyrd's Gary Rossington Shares the Story Behind "Free Bird"
When lightning strikes, ride with it or step out of the way!
Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd (1973)
“Ronnie [Van Zant, Skynyrd vocalist] didn’t like it in the beginning. He complained that the opening chord progression was too complicated, and he could find a melody for it. Every once in a while we’d bring it up again, and he’d just tell us to forget about it.
"Then one day we were at rehearsal and Allen [Collins, guitarist] started playing the chord progression, and Ronnie said, ‘That’s pretty.’ And he wrote the lyrics in three or four minutes — the whole damn thing!
"We started playing ‘Free Bird’ in clubs, an initially it was just a slow ballad.
"Then Ronnie said, ‘Why don’t you do something at the end of that so that I can take a break for a few minutes.’ So I came up with the ending chord progression and Allen played over them, then I soloed and then he soloed … It all evolved out of a single jam we had one night.”
From the GW archive: This story originally appeared in the February/March 2005 issue of Guitar World Acoustic.
Get our Free Newsletter Here!
You Might Also Like...
LATEST NEWS FROM ACOUSTIC NATION
Acoustic Fingerstylists Andy McKee, Jon Gomm and Daryl Kellie Are Blazing a Daring Style of Percussive, Alternate-Tuned Shred1 day 7 hours ago
2 days 6 hours ago
3 days 5 hours ago
3 days 13 hours ago
4 days 5 hours ago
1 week 1 day ago
2 weeks 1 hour ago