11 Comments (since 2 Jul 2014)
Although the album version is featured here, it was released as a single in 1974, reaching No. 19 in the USA and No. 21 in the UK. Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant thought at first that the song "Had too many chords to write lyrics for," 'Skynyrd' guitarist Gary Rossington commented in an interview with 'Blender' magazine, "But after a few months, we were sitting around, and he asked Allen to play those chords again.
"After about 20 minutes, Ronnie started singing, 'If I leave here tomorrow,' and it fit great. It wasn't anything heavy, just a love song about leavin' town, time to move on. Al put the organ on the front, which was a very good idea. He also helped me get the sound of the delayed slide guitar that I play - it's actually me playing the same thing twice, recording one on top of the other, so it sounds kind of slurry, echoey."
The song began as a ballad without the guitar solos at the end, and 'Lynyrd Skynyrd' recorded it that way for the first time in 1972. Guitarist Allen Collins had been working on the song on and off for the previous 2 years. At the time of recording, the song was only 7½ minutes long, but throughout the next year, Collins continued to refine the song until it was recorded for the final cut of the album "Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd" in 1973.
The band's record company did not even want it on the album. They thought it was too long [at 9:04] and that no radio station would play it. Even the band never thought this was going to be a hit. 'Skynyrd' played this only as an instrumental after the 1977 plane crash which killed lead singer Ronnie Van Zant. His brother Johnny took his place and, for a while, he wouldn't sing it - the band played it as an instrumental and the crowd would sing the words. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Bird
Surely one of the finest rock tracks ever...
thanks for great jam
Never less than stunning.
nice memories from this beauty..
Ronnie was a genius.