Song of the Day: Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Free Bird”



On this day in 1973, Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded “Free Bird” at Studio One in Doraville, GA. The song needs no introduction, and there’s not much to say about this song that hasn’t been said. The song actually makes me think of a moving moment that was discussed during the band’s episode VH1 Behind The Music. It came in 1979 during the band’s first time back on stage after the 1977 plane crash that killed frontman Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, backing vocalist Cassie Gaines, and assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick. During “Free Bird,” a stage light operator had a perfect idea to pay tribute to Van Zant during the song as he shone a light where Van Zant would have been singing. “It was a special sort of thing,” Charlie Daniels said. “Some of the guys were still hurt. Some of the guys were still — their hands were still stiff and they could hardly play. We did an instrumental version of ‘Free Bird,’ and whoever was operating the spotlights happened to have a real brainstorm and they hit an empty microphone where Ronnie Van Zant used to stand and sing the song, and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the crowd.”

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