Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Gimme Three Steps”, Free Bird” And “Sweet Alabama”

Cover of Seventies hit "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd

While I wasn’t really a follower of U.S. Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd at the time, I became very familiar with three of their tracks from the early Seventies, namely “Gimme Three Steps”, Free Bird” and “Sweet Alabama”.

This was largely through working with a band in Germany called Nuthin’ Fancy who were big fans of Lynyrd Skynyrd – in fact I have only just learned that they took their name from their idols’ third album…

“Gimme Three Steps” didn’t chart when it was released as a single in 1973, but the debut album it was on (“Lynyrd Skynyrd (pronounced ‘lĕh-‘nérd ‘skin-‘nérd)”) went to No. 1 – here it is:

Also from that 1973 album was what was to become Lynyrd Skynyrd’s signature song, “Free Bird”, which reached No. 19 as a single in 1974, making it their second Top 40 hit.

After the tragic plane crash in October 1977 in which several band members, including singer Ronnie Van Zantz, were killed, “Free Bird” was only played as an instrumental for many years.

This is “Free Bird”, live in 1975 (takes a little while to get going, but it’s worth it):

Previously, Lynyrd Skynyrd had their first chart hit, at No. 8, with “Sweet Home Alabama” from their second album, “Second Helping”.

The response to Neil Young’s songs “Southern Man” and “Alabama” was somewhat controversial because of lines about the state’s governor, which some took to be an endorsement of his segregationalist views, an endorsement put down to a misunderstanding and denied by band members.

“Sweet Home Alabama” is another of those songs that has meanwhile become a rock anthem:

I think “Sweet Home Alabama” is one Lynyrd Skynyrd song that I did actually hear back in the Seventies already, and it’s definitely one you remember.

When did you first hear it?

Paul

P.S. Lynyrd Skynyrd is really hard to spell right consistently!!

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