Skynryd - love them or hate them?

This liberal loves me some Skynyrd. And yes, that includes Free Bird. Well, until about the 5th minute of the jam in the live version. It’s like Stairway to Heaven, if I only hear it once every 5 years, I love it.

Also includes Sweet Home Alabama. Not the blindly Confederate anthem it is usually thought of. “In Birmingham they love the Governor - BOO BOO BOO - we all did what we could do.” And Ronnie Van Zandt wrote other “progressive” songs -

Things Goin On
Have you ever lived down in the ghetto?
Have you ever felt the cold wind blow?
If you don’t know what I mean,
Won’t you stand up and scream?
‘Cause there’s things goin’ on that you don’t know.
Too many lives they’ve spent across the ocean.
Too much money been spent upon the moon.
Well, until they make it right
I hope they never sleep at night
They better make some changes
And do it soon.
The Ballad of Curtis Lowe, a true story about a black man who played music on the street for coins, who Ronnie listened to as a boy.

He looked to be sixty
And maybe I was ten
Mama used to whoop me
But I’d go see him again

And a song about the environment, All I Can Do is Write It in a Song

Do you like to see a mountain stream a-flowin’
Do you like to see a young gun with his dog
Did you ever stop to think about, well, the air your breathin’
Well you better listen to my song
And lord I can’t make any changes
All I can do is write ‘em in a song
I can see the concrete slowly creepin’
Lord take me and mine before that comes

Gun Control

Hand guns are made for killin’
They ain’t no good for nothin’ else
And if you like to drink your whiskey
You might even shoot yourself
So why don’t we dump ‘em people
To the bottom of the sea
Before some ol’ fool come around here
Wanna shoot either you or me
The other cool thing about Skynyrd was the supposed feud between Ronnie and Neil Young. I’m a huge Neil fan, and there is the line in Sweet Home Alabama “a southern man don’t need him around anyhow.” But Ronnie was a fan, there are pics of him wearing a Tonight’s the Night t-shirt. And Neil said, “They play like they mean it, I’m proud to have my name in their song.”

But forget all the “important” songs. Just fucking great rock and roll - Gimme Three Steps, Tuesday’s Gone, Workin for MCA (better than the Sex Pistols EMI), so many others.

I used to like them a lot as a teen. I still appreciate them, in that they were tight and hooky as hell. And I find them a little fascinating from a folklore POV, from that disastrous crash( and the eerie coincidence with that album cover ), to Ronnie Van Zant being such an odd mix of genius and violent, drunken asshole.

But I really can’t listen to them much anymore - really only a deep album cut once in a blue moon if they pop up on some random radio show. They were just horrendously overplayed for my generation and Freebird is right up there with Hotel California as the classic rock songs most likely to cause me to scream in horror if they come on the radio and hurl myself at whatever control I need to change the station. Heck I can probably listen to Green Grass and High Tides by The Outlaws( aka “Freebird lite” in my mind ) without wincing too much, but not Freebird itself.

I’d far, far rather listen to Warren Zevon sneering a bit on Play it All Night Long ;).

I grew up a few hundred miles from Jacksonville in the '70s and early '80s and I can pretty much say the same thing as Tamerlane. LZ isn’t without merit but I won’t be sad if I never hear anything of theirs ever again; I simply don’t need to have air moving to know what the songs sound like anymore.

ETA: I’m not sure that LZ used that line in SWA because they were racist, but I am sure that racists have latched onto it like a carnival prize. For that reason alone, I don’t need to hear it. (Plus, let’s face it: much of Alabama’s history isn’t anything to be proud of; makes the song seem like whitewashing or something.)

I remember watching a video of the new line-up playing “Free Bird” and Johnny Van Zant kept glad-handing the crowd with crypto-racist asides. “Southern man don’t need him around (You know what I’m sayin’!.)” This was maybe 15-20 years ago. That song meant a lot to me as a teenager in the late 70s, and this was watching a long ago ex-girlfriend, who’d aged badly, drunkenly fall off her bar stool, unaware that I was there watching and I want to keep it that way.

And although he’s no longer with the band, Artemus Pyle is one scary mofo.

Everything they did well, the Allman Brothers did better. I don’t think I even have any Skynyrd in my iTunes anymore.

It’s hard to love or hate them when they’ve been irrelevant for decades.

I guess I am a rarity in that I could not care less what an artist’s politics are.

I saw the band with the original line-up, not long before the plane crash. I still own the flaming cover LP.

Lynyrd Skynyrd are probably not even in my top 50 favorite musical artists, but they could play and they could write a catchy as hell rocker.

I don’t often seek them out, but I don’t reach for the dial when they come on either.

That’s largely my view of them as well. Some years ago, I was in a pawn shop and noticed a box set collection of their entire catalog. After negotiating the owner down by nearly half off the marked price, I snagged it. I was still overcharged. I listened to the entire set at least twice over the next month or so. There’s some decent material in there and a few of the deeper cuts have made my playlist but for the most part, ehhh.

Like others have said, I’d love them more if they hadn’t been so overplayed in their day.

I will say that Ballad of Kurtis Lowe is one of the most perfect songs ever written. In particular, the lyrics are tight, spare, and evocative. Shows that it only takes a few well-chosen words to pack a potent storytelling punch.

Hate them, completely, and if I try to elaborate, I’ll probably get thrown off the board.

I listen to them frequently.

Except for Freebird. I agree it got over played and I deleted it from my phone.

I won’t shut off a radio if Freebird happens to play. I don’t hate the song.

Another one who’s head them since the stuff was new, and it wasn’t that exciting then. The only song that doesn’t make me spin the dial is their cover of “Call Me the Breeze”, and that’s because the horn section is fucking on.

I like them. I agree that a few of their songs have gotten more than their fair share of airplay over the years, but they put out a bunch of really good rock and roll songs, and I still enjoy listening to them.

I have no strong opinion either way. They’re ok, they’ve got a handful of good songs, but way overplayed and I’ve heard them all enough for one lifetime.

And, while Southern Man was rather sanctimonious and crude in its criticism of the South, I’ve always thought that Skynryd’s rejoinder was one of the lamest lines in all of rock&roll:

Young: How are you going to address your history of slavery, racism and human rights violations?

Skynryd: We don’t need you around here.

What an insightful response.

Eh… that ain’t it, chief. Listen to the whole song.

Am I the only one who doesn’t hear the ‘b’ sound in the alleged *boo boo boo?
If they had something to say they did a piss poor job of doing it. Man do I hate that song. Freebird too.

It’s definitely “boo boo boo.” Here’s a live version from 1977. Pretty clear "b"s there.

Are liberals not supposed to like Skynard or something? I missed that memo. Anyhow, I’m tired of most their songs, but, to me, they were essentially a great bar band. Tight songwriting, tight band, and I like that southern rock sound.

No, you’re not the only one, by far. An awful lot of people hear the lyrics as being supportive of discrimination (and hear that line as “oooh oooh oooh”), whether or not the band intended it that way.

I don’t dislike the band, though, as others have said, a handful of their songs have gotten way too much airplay on classic rock radio over the past four decades.

I’ll also take this opportunity to note that, while I don’t dislike Skynryd, I do strongly dislike the semi-related band .38 Special (founded by Ronnie’s younger brother Donnie), which always came across to me as an pale, overproduced imitation of Skynryd.

Great band. Great catalog. There was a reason it was ‘over-played’. It was damn good rock and roll.

Turn It Up!

I dislike “Free Bird” for the awful and overlong guitar solo.

But most of their other songs are nicely done. They’re best when they don’t try to be guitar gods and stick to the small stuff and songwriting.

LZ? Led Zeppelin? SWA? what