Is this one of the most iconic songs ever? It may well be! It’s been used in films, video games, as a theme song, and is featured on almost every classic rock compilation album ever released.
With a song this iconic, there will always be stories abounding about it. I remember meeting someone who was fortunate enough to see it being played live on a Skynard tour in the ’70’s and he said the whole set led up to this, like a volcano. The audience were so excited and expectant that when the opening chords were played people were deliriously happy….. and not all of them were on drugs!
Wikipedia comes in with this: “According to guitarist Gary Rossington, for two years after Allen Collins wrote the initial chords, vocalist Ronnie Van Zant insisted that there were too many for him to create a melody in the belief that the melody needed to change alongside the chords. After Collins played the unused sequence at rehearsal one day, Van Zant asked him to repeat it, then wrote out the melody and lyrics in three or four minutes. The guitar solos that finish the song were added originally to give Van Zant a chance to rest, as the band was playing several sets per night at clubs at the time. Soon afterward, the band learned piano-playing roadie Billy Powell had written an intro to the song; upon hearing it, they included it as the finishing touch and had him formally join as their keyboardist.
Allen Collins’s girlfriend, Kathy, whom he later married, asked him “If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?” Collins noted the question and it eventually became the opening line of “Free Bird”.”
Who knows how much of this is really true? To be honest, who cares. The song has lasted for over 40 years and I”m sure it will last at least another 40!
Enjoy the chart, love the song, keep on rocking’.