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Yelling "Freebird"
March 21, 2005 3:24 AM   Subscribe

Freebird!
posted by Tlogmer (99 comments total)

 
Mmmm. Freebird.

The first I heard of it was in a Descendents song 'Hurtin' Crue' which I belatedly posted to the AksMe thread on songs within songs.
Fifteen hippies drinkin' Coors
Tellin' us to play 'Freebird'
In my ignorance I had no idea what it was. Now it is one of my favourite songs. Yelling it at a Florence Henderson concert? That's about as weird as actually going to a Florence Henderson concert.
posted by bdave at 3:43 AM on March 21, 2005


all your freebirds are belong to meme hyperbole
posted by peacay at 4:29 AM on March 21, 2005


I imagine most bands feel the same way about Freebird-yellers as the rest of us do about being accosted by street mimes. And, like street mimes, people yeeling freebird are consistently funny as long as they're happening to someone else. I still laugh every time I hear someone yell "Freebird" inappropriately. I laugh even more if the singer starts angrily demanding they stop or starts threatening to throw people out.
posted by fshgrl at 4:30 AM on March 21, 2005


"Please stop yelling that," he says. "It's not funny, it's not clever -- it's stupid."

The only people who still yell this are your typical "modern rock" fratboy mouthbreathers who are excited to be in a "real" rock club (as opposed to a basketball stadium) where the band can actually hear you. The Rush and Dream Theater shows are over there, sir, please move along.

It's exactly like people relating to you the latest internet meme they heard about just today, which you got tired of two years ago. Except this meme's been going on for over a decade now.
posted by intermod at 4:52 AM on March 21, 2005


There's a similar thing in golf tournaments where somebody in the gallery shouts "You Da Man!" after a long shot it hit, and sometimes before, generally pissing off the crowd, the announcers and the players.
posted by beagle at 5:20 AM on March 21, 2005


Has the WSJ finally caught up to a phenomenon which must be, by most accounts, at least 15 years old? Wow, timely as ever!

I mean, if it was already passe when Bill Hicks was performing (not recently, obviously) then it's not exactly cutting-edge journalism, now, is it.
posted by clevershark at 5:35 AM on March 21, 2005


There's a beautiful story in Newcity Chicago about the Freebird phenomenon and Thelonious Monk. [via]
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:25 AM on March 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine who used to run lights at a live music venue in town got tired of the whole Freebird thing about 15 years ago and ever since requests Frere Jacques or Papa Don't Preach when he grows weary of a band's banter.
posted by TedW at 6:32 AM on March 21, 2005


The Rush and Dream Theater shows are over there, sir, please move along.

Wow, fonzie, you're so cool. Can I ride on the back of your bike?

Mike Doughty, the former front man of the "deep slacker jazz" band Soul Coughing, adding that "these kids, they can't be listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd."

Skynyrd are part of the landscape. Pretty much everyone has heard "Freebird." I think my grandmother would probably recognize it. And Mr. Doughty, I like your band but 30 years from now, we'll see if anyone's at some new band's show yelling out for "Super Bon Bon." Somehow I have my doubts.
posted by jonmc at 6:34 AM on March 21, 2005


Pretty much everyone has heard "Freebird."

Well... if it weren't on the GTA:SA soundtrack I don't know how much longer that would be true. Before playing the game I had heard it only a couple of times, and it hadn't really made much of an impression. I think Doughty's point is that someone yelling "Freebird!" at a concert doesn't necessarily mean that this person has heard it before, or that it's left much of an impression.
posted by clevershark at 6:41 AM on March 21, 2005


The funniest part is Johnny Van Zant himself yelling it at a Cher concert. And he's right, bands that get angry about it are probably missing the point. Robert Earl Keen just laughs it off, plays a moment of the solo, and moves on. It's the rock equivalent of "Kilroy was here".
posted by elvolio at 6:45 AM on March 21, 2005


After years of hearing people shout "Freebird!" in concert, it took this article to actually make me download Freebird and hear what song it was. With the first few notes, I realized "Oh, it's that song!". I think Freebird is pretty much a part of the American cultural landscape, but a lot of people, like myself, might not put the song together with the title.
posted by Bugbread at 6:49 AM on March 21, 2005


Before playing the game I had heard it only a couple of times, and it hadn't really made much of an impression.

mental note: chevershark=possible communist.

I think Doughty's point is that someone yelling "Freebird!" at a concert doesn't necessarily mean that this person has heard it before, or that it's left much of an impression.

I'd be really surprised. Even if they hate the song, most people have heard it, in my experience. And if they haven't they must be made to.

And he's right, bands that get angry about it are probably missing the point. Robert Earl Keen just laughs it off, plays a moment of the solo, and moves on.

Actually, in college, a girlfreind took me to an Indigo Girls show (you learned to like 'em if you wanted to get laid in those days) and somebody yelled it. Amy Ray said that they didn't know "Freebird," but they did know "Sweet Home Alabama," and played half the song.

on preview: et tu, bugbread? Jesus, how young are you guys?
posted by jonmc at 6:50 AM on March 21, 2005


jonmc : " on preview: et tu, bugbread? Jesus, how young are you guys?"

30. Out of curiosity, how old are you?
posted by Bugbread at 6:53 AM on March 21, 2005


34.

You're old enough to have grown up hearing it.

*scowls*

what are you, one of those "new wavers?"
posted by jonmc at 6:56 AM on March 21, 2005


I like Lynyrd Skynyrd AND new wave. Actually I like Skynyrd more.
posted by scratch at 7:00 AM on March 21, 2005


We play it when someone yells it at one of our shows. The long version. Shuts em' up fast once they realize they're getting pounded in the ears with G, Bb, C over & over & over again. I happen to like the song too so that helps.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:00 AM on March 21, 2005 [2 favorites]


Like I said, I grew up hearing it, I just didn't grow up hearing the name in conjunction with it. It was just one of those songs that got played a lot on classic rock radio and in movies. Same thing as growing up knowing the melody of Time, by Pink Floyd, but not knowing that the song was called "Time", or knowing that song with "aeeeaaaaaaaaa, AH! aeeeaaaaaa, AH!" but not knowing it was "The Immigrant Song".

And, yeah, I was one of those new wavers, I guess. Past tense, though.
posted by Bugbread at 7:02 AM on March 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


mental note: chevershark=possible communist.

hehe... chevershark? I'm not nearly that handsome! As for my being a possible communist, well, I am a foreigner. I'm 33 BTW.

My point, though, was that the meme of yelling "Freebird" in a crowded theater transcends the song itself. Kinda like the way that Gary Coleman jokes have transcended the man's career (by a lot, I should add -- anyone who's played Postal 2 can attest to that).
posted by clevershark at 7:06 AM on March 21, 2005


So when, exactly, did the joke shift from yelling "Whipping Post" to "Freebird"? I remember that in the 1980's, Frank Zappa insisted his band learn "Whipping Post" just because people were yelling it out so often. I don't think Frank would ever have played "Freebird", though.

There's a beautiful story in Newcity Chicago about the Freebird phenomenon and Thelonious Monk. [via]


Monju -- FYI -- the T.S. Monk mentioned in the article is the son of Thelonious.
posted by barjo at 7:06 AM on March 21, 2005


I like Lynyrd Skynyrd AND new wave. Actually I like Skynyrd more.

Depending on how you define "new wave," so do I, I just couldn't resist the obvious joke.

Great as it is, "Freebird," isn't even Skynyrd's best song. That's probably be "Needle & The Spoon," or "Simple Man." I actually acquired through completely legal means, a recording Skynyrd made around 1970, and you can definitely hear the beginnings of something unique.

They had lots of mediocre imitators, but the Ronnie Van Zant led Skynyrd was a truly original outfit.
posted by jonmc at 7:08 AM on March 21, 2005


Thanks barjo, I wasn't reading closely enough.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:09 AM on March 21, 2005


I also just found a stream of the long version. I'm sitting at desk with headphones on and Bic aloft. My co-workers are looking at me funny.
posted by jonmc at 7:11 AM on March 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


After reading that now I want a burrito.
posted by Cyrano at 7:12 AM on March 21, 2005


This band has the right idea. Almost as good as my favorite Polka band -- Get Off the Stage.
posted by Cassford at 7:22 AM on March 21, 2005


See also.
posted by 327.ca at 7:24 AM on March 21, 2005


jonmc : " I also just found a stream of the long version."

Link us up.
posted by Bugbread at 7:26 AM on March 21, 2005


Actually it turned out to be the short version at some Brazilian lyrics site.

This might be even better. Now if only I had some Jack and skunkweed.
posted by jonmc at 7:29 AM on March 21, 2005


Skomsvold: That's exactly what I was thinking. There's an Andy Kaufman-like stunt in there somewhere, where the band plays the long version of Freebird over and over for every person who requested it, until the entire crowd walks out.
posted by fungible at 7:29 AM on March 21, 2005


A friend of mine died young and at his memorial service, his father played a mix tape of what he thought was his son's favorite music. We all jumped a little when the intro to Freebird began. . . his father said, I know Rick loved that song, he was always yelling for it.

It was weirdly perfect.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:44 AM on March 21, 2005 [7 favorites]


I'm sleep deprived. This made me laugh hard.
posted by docpops at 7:46 AM on March 21, 2005


OK, I admit it. That was me yelling "Freebird" at a Fugazi show in Paris in 1988.
posted by stargell at 7:53 AM on March 21, 2005


Dash Rip Rock. "Dash Rip Rock" Dash rip rock. Dash, rip, rock! Dash. Rip. Rock. Dash. Rip? Rock!
posted by redteam at 8:09 AM on March 21, 2005


mygothlaundry, now I wish there was a "best comment" button on mefi. Great story. Thanks and condolences.
posted by breezeway at 8:15 AM on March 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


intermod: "The only people who still yell this are your typical "modern rock" fratboy mouthbreathers who are excited to be in a "real" rock club (as opposed to a basketball stadium) where the band can actually hear you. The Rush and Dream Theater shows are over there, sir, please move along."

Dude, look, I have the first five Fall records, the extremely rare 'No New York' comp produced by B. Eno, and everything Pavement ever released officially or semi-officially, all on vinyl. So I'm cooler than you. And even I think that Rush is awesome, man. I also live next door to a frat house, and if you think fratboys are excited by Rush and Dream Theater, you're sadly mistaken. In fact, I doubt that this has ever been true, in fact; Rush has never been a big party-rock band. (Maybe AC/DC has, but that's another argument.) They've always been great; and they're still at least pretty good. Even that new cover of "Summertime Blues."

Just sayin'.
posted by koeselitz at 8:27 AM on March 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


They've always been great; and they're still at least pretty good. Even that new cover of "Summertime Blues."

You should hear their cover of "Not Fade Away," from back in the John Rutsey days.
posted by jonmc at 8:29 AM on March 21, 2005


Isn't "Rush" pretty much the exact opposite of fratboy music? Like, if you played Rush and some fratboy music at the same time, wouldn't they, like the combination of matter and antimatter, result in a Tunguska sized explosion knocking over trees and Greeks for miles around?
posted by Bugbread at 8:48 AM on March 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


In... ummm... '92, I was managing a small college theater in Wisconsin. The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra was doing these little tours to such places and it was led by Bobby Mcferrin (yes THAT Bobby Mcferrin). Anyhow, part of the concert was actually a bit improv and he asked for requests, Flight of the Bumblebee etc etc... my second in command yelled out, of course, Freebird. Was pretty funny in that context. They, alas just brushed it aside and didn't attempt it.
posted by edgeways at 8:48 AM on March 21, 2005


we should probably quit screwing with intermod. We might shatter his sense of hipster superiority, and thus plunge him into an identity crisis.
posted by jonmc at 8:53 AM on March 21, 2005


I remember hearing a comedy song (on 98 Rock in baltimore, maybe 15-20 years ago) called "Stairway to Freebird", I think it was by Big Daddy Graham.
posted by 445supermag at 8:59 AM on March 21, 2005


I attended a taping of a Barenaked Ladies TV concert in the late 90s at which they handled the ubiquitous request with considerable aplomb: they sang the lyrics of "Freebird" to the tune of their own song "If I Had A Million Dollars". It scanned pretty well, too.
Oh, and Zappa's version of "Whipping Post" was amazing.
posted by Listener_T at 8:59 AM on March 21, 2005


Phish used to do a mean a cappella version of Freebird.
posted by muckster at 9:01 AM on March 21, 2005


We've got to work it so someone cries out "Freebird" at a White House press conference.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:04 AM on March 21, 2005


Well, that Guckert guy is probably looking for work.
posted by jonmc at 9:05 AM on March 21, 2005


Kevin Matthews ... hit upon it as a way to torment Florence Henderson

See, what did I tell you? It always comes back to Florence Henderson. Always.

Personally, I don't wanna hear 'Freebird.' I wanna hear 'Caravan,' with a drum sol-ah.
posted by soyjoy at 9:16 AM on March 21, 2005


Yelling "Freebird" at a concert is kinda like old people doing the Macarena at a wedding... it empowers them and they feel "cool" and "hip" and "in" and "wacky" and.. uhh... "free like a bird" by doing it.
posted by afx114 at 9:28 AM on March 21, 2005


OK, I admit it. That was me yelling "Freebird" at a Fugazi show in Paris in 1988.
posted by stargell at 10:53 AM EST on March 21 [!]


If it had been just a few years later, you could've yelled "RAW PEANUTS!" Or was that just a 'Drunken Idiots At A Fugazi Show In Toronto" thing?

A friend of mine once phoned me drunk from Norway because she had just heard 'Freebird' on the radio and it made her think of me... stirred up hazy booze-soaked memories of a fantastic night we shared groovin' to Skynyrd and drinkin' Rebel Yell Bourbon.

*flicks on lighter, starts to sway*

posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:46 AM on March 21, 2005


Having seen the masquerading husk of Lynyrd Skynyrd on stage recently, I can confirm that actually yelling "Freebird" at a Skynyrd concert is twenty times worse than doing it as a joke.
posted by Stan Chin at 9:52 AM on March 21, 2005


chumps, amateurs, and self-compromised products of a stone-washed historicity, all y'all punk asses.
posted by freebird at 9:57 AM on March 21, 2005


"play some Fugazi!"
posted by freebird at 10:08 AM on March 21, 2005


My friends and I yell "Play Loveshack!"
posted by weston at 10:13 AM on March 21, 2005


Do you think that at John Ashcroft's "Soar like an Eagle" concerts, fans yell out "Freeper!?" Because that would be too cool, or something.
posted by schyler523 at 10:24 AM on March 21, 2005


What, weston, not "Rock Lobster"?
posted by wendell at 10:27 AM on March 21, 2005


One of my favorite bands, Against me!, wrote a song titled freebird, and they played that instead when it was requested.
posted by Lusy P Hur at 10:30 AM on March 21, 2005


"someone cries out "Freebird" at a White House press conference."
dances_with_sneetches dude, that would rock!

Although considering the phony cheeziness factor, I would think people would yell out "Danke Schoen!"

Which I don't think anyone would sing, other than Wayne Newton. You might get a Freebird now and then tho
posted by Smedleyman at 10:36 AM on March 21, 2005


On the Frogs' live album "CBGayB" they do indeed play "Freebird" after the heckle.

And I dunno about Zappa's band learning "Whipping Post," but I've heard a live recording from somewhere in Europe where, after someone in the crowd yells out for it, they play "Montana" with the lyrics changed to include, um, whipping posts.
posted by jtron at 10:43 AM on March 21, 2005


The only people who still yell this are your typical "modern rock" fratboy mouthbreathers who are excited to be in a "real" rock club (as opposed to a basketball stadium) where the band can actually hear you.

Au contraire. I heard "Freebird!" yelled inappropriately -- i.e. not during the '70s when it was an obligatory cover for local rock bands who normally played that kind of music anyway -- last summer when a 54 year old Peter Frampton doddered into town for one free concert at the the State Fair in the old stadium. (More "recent" acts put on for-pay concerts in Freedom Hall, the Fairground's basketball arena.) Frampton and his band did a few slightly newer numbers, but their biggest bits were ~20 minute long renditions (I didn't wear my watch) of "Show Me The Way" and "Do You Feel Like We Do", which I remembered liking when I was 12 and got a big kick out of hearing live for the very first time -- with a very Classic Rock Concert kind of staging. (It almost made me feel young again.) The young yeller was a college-age but not fratboy-looking, thin (anorexic by local standards) suburban white male who also seemed amazed that people were passing around joints. (This guy brought to mind a Britney Spears fan -- around here they're likely to be 12 -- rolling her eyes and saying "You people are so RETRO in such a BAD way"; THAT was what I cracked up laughing at.) The kid yelled "Freebird!" a couple times, whereupon I sorta got the point: he found Frampton dated, he only came because it was free, and he, unlike me, was not unexpectedly impressed; then I chimed in with another title from around Frampton's era that also was not likely to be on his playlist, "Paint It Black". We duelled, this poor child and I, yelling titles of "Classic Rock Hits", till he again cracked me up by yelling "Camel Toe!" -- I'd never heard of any song by that name but I had recently learned what a "camel toe" is (and again, that mental image is what I found so damn funny). I had no idea that anybody ever yelled "Freebird!" in such a context -- I ain't got out much for quite a while -- so I had no idea it was such a "tradition"; in my own defense, if Frampton or anybody in his band heard us they didn't let on, and our fellow audience-members who did hear it seemed off-put that we broke etiquette by yelling anything at all.

And by the way, yesterday when I was doddering my old 10-speed around downtown I came across a tour bus caravan for Duran Duran. It appears they played a nostalgia gig last night, which I might have gone to if I'd heard about it in time to make plans -- and if it were free. I've paid some cover charges for local bands in my day, but I haven't paid to hear a concert by a Big Name (anybody y'all would've heard of) since I saw Kiss in Baltimore in 1975 (I went alone and without permission; picture a 12 year old enjoying unwittingly-smoked PCP), and I only heard Jackson Browne for free in 1978 because he was playing an outdoor gig someplace I happened to be hitchhiking past anyway so there was no way I'd be getting out of there for a few hours -- and the music could be heard fairly clearly from a grassy place outside the fence. SO, if you're keeping track, I've been to two Big Name concerts in my whole life, the last one 27 years ago, which might account for why I never heard anybody yell "Freebird!" as a mocking jest before last year. (I did see Liza Minelli in Baltimore on a chilly rainy night sometime in, I think, 1993: on the street near Harborplace I happened across a cute dyke I knew whose mom had decided not to go at the last minute so she had an extra ticket and nobody to hold her shy hand; if Liza Minelli counted as a Big Name in '93 do correct my narration accordingly.) But anyway, to meander toward the end and ostensible point of this comment, if I had gone to Duran Duran, even though I knew what it meant before today I would not have yelled "Freebird!" them. (Maybe a tune from closer to their era, like "Hell's Ditch".)
posted by davy at 10:43 AM on March 21, 2005


I swear, and I mean it, I swear I started the "Freebird" thing. This was way, way back when I was in college--late 1970, early 1980s. I admit this only because I think the statute of limitations has run out. But I did yell it out at concerts back then, because I was young, drunk and stupid.

I also saw Frank Zappa in Santa Monica back in 1982 when he opened with "Whipping Post," and it was awesome. So good, in fact, I probably cried out for "Freebird."

John Eddy does a very funny song called "Play Some Skynyrd," which ties into the "Freebird" phenom.
posted by Man-Thing at 10:45 AM on March 21, 2005


I came across a tour bus caravan for Duran Duran.

You've misunderstood; I didn't wanna hear a whole long story about a caravan - I wanna hear Caravan with a drum sol-ah.

posted by soyjoy at 10:52 AM on March 21, 2005


Me: I came across a tour bus caravan for Duran Duran.

soyjoy: You've misunderstood; I didn't wanna hear a whole long story about a caravan - I wanna hear Caravan with a drum sol-ah.

Very funny. Are you supporting America's dental floss growers?
posted by davy at 10:55 AM on March 21, 2005


Well, as for the Frampton-"Freebird" connection, there is the medley "Baby I Love Your Way/Freebird" which was put out by Will to Power in the late 80s.
posted by candyland at 11:29 AM on March 21, 2005


candyland, now that you've mentioned The Medley That Can Never Be Mentioned, you do realize that we have to kill you, right?
posted by jonmc at 11:36 AM on March 21, 2005


Dash Rip Rock are the most underappreciated cowpunk band of ALL TIME!!1!

No really. They've toiled in obscurity for years and years and always put on a good show. And "Stairway to Freebird" is awesome.
posted by turbodog at 11:44 AM on March 21, 2005


Weird. Bewildered by all this Southern Fried in-joking and stuff, I've just downloaded a clip of Freebird, and I can honestly say that I've never heard it before. Or, well, actually, maybe I have, it's just so forgettable - even now, a minute after hearing it, I can't remember how it goes. And I've certainly never heard a Freebird heckle. I've heard plenty of 'play a fucking song', but never a Freebird.

You people are odd.

However sad it may be though to shout it at a rock gig, there's now something wonderfully ridiculous about the thought of shouting it halfway though a laptop set - someone like Sachiko M, or Bernhard Günter. No, on second thoughts, that's even less funny.
posted by nylon at 1:20 PM on March 21, 2005


I've just downloaded a clip of Freebird, and I can honestly say that I've never heard it before. Or, well, actually, maybe I have, it's just so forgettable - even now, a minute after hearing it, I can't remember how it goes.

*gets pitchfork, torch and noose*

you sure you don't want to reconsider that opinion?
posted by jonmc at 1:27 PM on March 21, 2005


And I dunno about Zappa's band learning "Whipping Post," but I've heard a live recording from somewhere in Europe where, after someone in the crowd yells out for it, they play "Montana" with the lyrics changed to include, um, whipping posts.

My understanding is that "Whipping Post" was yelled out to Zappa and band and they changed the lyrics to "Montana" but then on the same tour, they learned "Whipping Post" and it became a staple in their repertoire.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:34 PM on March 21, 2005


After davy's story, I think I will begin yelling out, "Play some fucking Liza with a Z!" at concerts from now on.
posted by haqspan at 1:44 PM on March 21, 2005


Really. "Play some Perry Como!"
posted by alumshubby at 2:05 PM on March 21, 2005


Play some Aufgehoben!
posted by kenko at 2:25 PM on March 21, 2005


One of my friends got a bunch of people to chant "play some kenny rogers" at a GN'R concert once. *shrug*
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 2:26 PM on March 21, 2005


nylon : "I've heard plenty of 'play a fucking song', but never a Freebird. "

I've heard plenty of Freebird, but I only ever heard "play a fucking song" once, at a Mr. Bungle show that started with about 40 minutes of noise and random sounds, which coalesced into the start of a song. It was pretty damn sweet. General concensus afterwards was that the people in the "play a fucking song" camp were Faith No More fans who couldn't tell the difference between the bands.
posted by Bugbread at 2:58 PM on March 21, 2005


Note: Monk story is a fable. As in, not true. It wasn't Monk or his son.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:09 PM on March 21, 2005


The Crimea aren't from Wales by the way. They're from London.
posted by gwildar at 3:12 PM on March 21, 2005


I yell this everytime some band starts bantering about onstage in ways that aggrevate the audience. I feel its reciprocal. The song is irrelevant, as I also often yell, " Shut Up and play!"
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 3:20 PM on March 21, 2005


oh kenko, I wish they would. I wish everyone would.
posted by nylon at 3:26 PM on March 21, 2005


Sunshine Day!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:31 PM on March 21, 2005 [2 favorites]


I'd be really surprised. Even if they hate the song, most people have heard it, in my experience. And if they haven't they must be made to.

all right, I too was not sure if I knew this song, so I just downloaded it, and as expected, it is familiar, although before downloading it I did not know which song it was.

It's a really bad song.
sorry, but. It is. "'cuz I'm as freeee as a biiird now, and this bird you'll never change... oh this biird you cannot chaaange.."
okay, (still listening) around 5 minutes, the guitars start getting fun. Not entirely without merit, but they should drop the lyrics at least, and the opening melody is uninteresting.

But basically, yeah, I'd bet doughty's right about the joke transcending anyone's actual familiarity with the music.
posted by mdn at 3:32 PM on March 21, 2005


One of the weirdest moments of my life was hearing people shout 'Freebird' at a Skynyrd reunion concert in the late 1980's.

The band did play, but refused to sing it, saying only one man could sing it and he wasn't there. A screen descended from the ceiling and showed a short movie of an eagle with a rebel flag tied around it flying, as the band played.
posted by UseyurBrain at 3:35 PM on March 21, 2005


Hmmmm, Autechre are coming to town soon....
posted by jokeefe at 3:37 PM on March 21, 2005


I'm waiting with gleeful anticipation for the first shouting of "Freebird" at a classical music orchestral concert.
posted by Bugbread at 3:51 PM on March 21, 2005


I also saw Frank Zappa in Santa Monica back in 1982 when he opened with "Whipping Post"

Okay, I downloaded that and I'll listen to it tonight while I'm doin' my drinkin'. I 'spect it'll be right good.

As for Duran Duran, my girlfriend said a coworker of hers bought tickets as soon as she heard; Ticketmaster.com doesn't like my browser settings and I'm not motivated enough to change it for that so I don't have a clue what the tickets went for -- but I think it'd've been way more than I'd want to pay to hear a pop band from the early '80s. Dammit, nostalgia SHOULD be free!

And bugbread said: I'm waiting with gleeful anticipation for the first shouting of "Freebird" at a classical music orchestral concert.

If a free concert at the School of Music counts, it was last semester that I did that.
posted by davy at 3:58 PM on March 21, 2005


bugbread: "I'm waiting with gleeful anticipation for the first shouting of "Freebird" at a classical music orchestral concert."

At the symphony, you yell "Firebird!"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:02 PM on March 21, 2005 [6 favorites]


I know Freebird too well, and I will concur that it's a crap song. If you like Lynrd Skynrd, or however it's splld, there are better options. Not much better, but better.

I also haven't heard somebody yell "Freebird" at a show since college, over 10 years ago. Maybe I go to the wrong shows ... or the right ones. ;p

Certainly no aesthetic superiority here--I have Exit... Stage Left on my desk right now, and I'm listening to Richard Harris' version of MacArthur Park, but Freebird sucks. Bad. The joke was kinda funny when I was 13 years old.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:22 PM on March 21, 2005


local electro-industrial-parody band B001e got so tired of hearing at their concerts, they covered it and put it on their website with a note that read something to the effect of "We've made a cover of Freebird if you'd like to hear us play it. Please stop yelling it at our concerts."
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:48 PM on March 21, 2005


mdn:It's a really bad song.

mrgrimm: I know Freebird too well, and I will concur that it's a crap song.

I'll be praying for both your souls tonight.

In grimm's case, I'm guessing that it's overplay more than the song itself that makes for the distaste, because even I'll admit that it's overplayed.

But just to dispel a few myths about the mighty Skynyrd:

They were not unreconstructed rednecks, otherwise they wouldn't have written explicitly anti-racist, anti-handgun and anti-drug abuse songs. Ronnie Van Zant was definitely proud of his southern heritage, but he was definitely trying to forge a new southern identity.

They were not wasted jammers: "Freebird," "Tuesday's Gone," and "Simple Man," notwithstanding, most of their best numbers ("Sweet Home Alabama," "I Know A Little," "On The Hunt,") clocked in at under 4 minutes. And, to their credit they kept their subject matter fairly street, avoiding the pseudo-mystical asshattery that dates so many other bands from the 70's. I've known hardest-core punk rockers who've admitted to a soft-spot for Skynyrd and the rest of the Southern Boogie mob.

But then again maybe they just arent your cuppa tea, like certain bands that shall remain nameless arent mine.

C'est la vie.

*cracks beer, cranks "Ballad Of Curtis Loew"*
posted by jonmc at 6:41 PM on March 21, 2005


The thing about 'Freebird' is that it's a transparent song. Yes, if you listen closely and stare into your beer while it's playing, you'll hear the slow, serenading beginning part, and think to yourself, "why, yes, here's the slow, serenading beginning part," and, just as the rocking later part begins, you'll say to yourself, "here, chaps, is the rocking later part, right on cue." The theme is obvious: leaving a girl. There are enough songs about this to make it well-trodden territory. In short, those looking for a deeply subtle song will be disappointed.

However, those looking for coolness and rocking will not.

All of you who downloaded this because you weren't sure if you'd heard it should know that, while it's not the best song for sitting in front of a brainkilling screen and tapping on a keyboard to, it is the best song for driving in your pickup to the barbecue to, with a cooler full of beer on the back seat and maybe some good friends there. In short, it is one of the funner songs out there.

While my experience of Skynyrd's music is somewhat limited, and I'm still rediscovering that old stuff I felt like I was supposed to hate when I was a punker kid, I had the pleasure of meeting them last year when I was a valet at a major hotel. Yeah, most of them are gone now, and replaced, but they were really all-right guys, and certainly the most decent, stand-up rich people I've ever met.
posted by koeselitz at 7:05 PM on March 21, 2005


Paint It Black, you devil!

or perhaps

Melancholy Baby (slurred)

young pups...
posted by skyscraper at 7:18 PM on March 21, 2005


As for Duran Duran, my girlfriend said a coworker of hers bought tickets as soon as she heard;

Did duran duran ever really stop touring? A friend of mine has an unhealthy obsession with them (which dates from adolescence) and is always going out to see them in concert. I know she's seen them at least a couple times in the last few years...

much obliged, jonmc, for the prayers. In reciprocation, I will sit here and shake my head knowingly at your sad delusions.
And koeselitz, your description made me laugh.
posted by mdn at 7:21 PM on March 21, 2005


mrgrimm's a "MacArthur Park" fan too. Huzzah! Somehow Donna Summer's version is just too lush, but Richard Harris' rendition makes me cry. With its hokey lyrics and cheesy instrumentation I don't know how it does that, it's clearly not on the "Moonlight Sonata" level, but it does.

Whereas, after being subjected to Lynyrd Skynrd a few hundred times too many, including an ex-girlfriend's brother who played that CD every day for two weeks (that I was there anyway), I would like it all to be forgotten, please. (Let Duran Duran cover "Tuesday's Gone" though, as an instrumental.)

The example of "classic rock" I put on when I want to feel exalted is "Inna Gadda Da Vida". Can I get a witness?

Oh, and It's Raining Flo, I gotta try that. "Firebird." Tres witty!
posted by davy at 7:27 PM on March 21, 2005


I'm still rediscovering that old stuff I felt like I was supposed to hate when I was a punker kid,

Everday I'm glad that when I discovered punk rock, that I didn't abandon the old "classic rock," (a term I loathe with the passion of a thousand suns) cheesy pop, and oldies that I'd grown up with. That way I din't have to miss out on anything good. Sadly, it also kept me from becoming a full-fledged member of the club among some of my less open-minded "alternative" type associates.

But I'm glad to see people starting to realize that "punk," and "alternative" has become just as regimented and stale as what it was supposed to replace (and I don't just mean top 40 pop-punk either, the indie punk kids sound suspiciously like old hippies to me these days, they just replaced one kind of cant with another). Plus, there's piles of great stuff buried in just about every genre, including the most uncool ones. I've got tons of great obscure 70's butt-rock in my collection, koselitz, send an email and you'll be in for a treat.

much obliged, jonmc, for the prayers. In reciprocation, I will sit here and shake my head knowingly at your sad delusions.

methinks she doth protest too much. I bet that buried between your Joy Division records nestle copies of Street Survivors and Fire On The Mountain. Put on some tight Jordaches, feather your hair, crack some Peachtree, and just dig it, baby...;)

The example of "classic rock" I put on when I want to feel exalted is "Inna Gadda Da Vida". Can I get a witness?


Amen. Although the versions by the Incredible Bongo Band and Slayer are great , too.
posted by jonmc at 7:30 PM on March 21, 2005


I can't believe none of the other monkeys have mentioned it yet, but Marquis once claimed to have yelled "Freebird!" to Elvis ...
posted by yhbc at 7:32 PM on March 21, 2005


The "Whippin' Post" on Zappa's Them or Us is smokin'; Ol' Frankie could play. Next I gotta get the version where Dweezil does guitar duty.

But still, it's hard to top the Allmans on that number. The jury's still out; it took me a while to figure out whose version of "Moanin'" I liked best too.
posted by davy at 8:44 PM on March 21, 2005


But still, it's hard to top the Allmans on that number.

I used to know an older guy who was at the Fillmore the night they recorded the first Live album. My first question to him, of course, was "Were you the guy who yelled out 'Whipping Post!'"

"No," he said, "but that guy was about 10 yards away from me." This guy was also Gladys Knights road manager for a few New York gigs.
posted by jonmc at 8:51 PM on March 21, 2005


"Freebird" at a classical music orchestral concert.

The one place I'd be glad to hear it shouted out would be at a gig by a Celtic band with a set of bagpipes and a sense of humor.

Freebird would own on the bagpipes.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:02 PM on March 21, 2005


Freebird would own on the bagpipes.

George, you're scaring me. PCP is bad news, man.
posted by davy at 10:38 PM on March 21, 2005


It's Raining Florence Henderson wins. Twice.

Five bucks well spent, IMHO.
posted by soyjoy at 9:51 AM on March 22, 2005


Five bucks well spent

Not by me, of course, in case that was unclear.

posted by soyjoy at 9:54 AM on March 22, 2005


Not that anyone had shouted for it, but Built To Spill played a very un-ironic long rendition of Freebird to close their show at the 9:30 club in Washington DC, on the Friday following September 11, 2001. Perhaps that sounds horrible, but at the time, and as someone who did grow up hearing the song a lot (35 years old), it was very affecting. Of course, I had also had maybe too much to drink (an expensive proposition at the 9:30 club), so…
posted by zoinks at 1:55 PM on March 22, 2005


Uh, jonmc, Slayer ruined Inna Gadda Da Vida. It's not the music that's bad, it's that "singing".

Maybe I should be a heavy metal vocalist. I couldn't carry a tune in a dumptruck, but I can shrilly scream.
posted by davy at 8:49 PM on March 22, 2005


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