The origins of Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Free Bird' are pretty brief. In this 1970 demo (source), you can hear a short version, with the opening question but no piano intro and extended jam at the end. Though they recorded a long version for their debut album, they also cut a short version for the single. But people want "guitar sagas", such as "Whipping Post," by the Allman Brothers Band,and "Smoke on the Water," by Deep Purple, or maybe it was a silly thing to heckle Florence Henderson and other uncool cats. Decades later, people are still yelling "Freebird!" Sometimes people snap back, like Bill Hicks (NSFW), and sometimes people oblige, like Bob Dylan recently. In case that's not enough, there's (always) more! [more inside]
Free Bird. That's right, the Lynyrd Skynyrd tune. It's an icon, it's a joke. It's a legend, it's a must to avoid. It's a masterpiece, it's a disaster. It's all and none of the above. But, yeah, whatever. Here's the guitar solo, isolated. That is all. No, wait. That is not all. What the hell, here's Ian Anderson's isolated vocals for Aqualung, Cross-Eyed Mary and Up To Me.
Before hip-hop beefs, there were response records, also known as answer songs, usually replies to well-known songs. There are a few key eras: blues and R&B recorded music in the 1930s through 1950s, including a number of responses to "Work With Me, Annie" (1954), recorded by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, with answers including "Annie had a Baby," and "The Wallflower" by Etta James; and Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog" (1953), with a quick response by Louis Innis and Charlie Gore, made a mere week after the original was released, and Rufus Thomas' "Bear Cat" (1953), Sun Records' first hit. Country, rock & roll, doo-wop and pop music picked up where the blues left off, with most activity in the 1950s to 60s. Two examples from this era are "Are You Lonesome To-night" and "Who Put The Bomp," and responses to both. The most well known from the next decade was Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" (1974), a response to Neil Young's "Southern Man" (1970) and "Alabama" (1972). Until the 2000s, no answer songs had charted as high as the original hits. That changed with Frankee's "F.U.R.B. (Fuck You Right Back)" (2004), a response to Eamon's "Fuck It (I Don't Want You Back)" (2003), which was the first answer song to reach number 1 in the UK. Six years later and across the pond, Katy Perry's "California Gurls" was a response to "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z. It was the first answer song to reach No. 1 in the Billboard Hot 100. More Responses inside. [more inside]
This is the coolest thing in the world. For reals. It's "Dueling Banjos"... played on two giant Tesla Coils. That's... pretty dang amazing. As if that's not enough, perhaps you'll like the Nyan Cat theme? Or perhaps Sweet Home Alabama, for jonmc? Or In The Hall of the Mountain King, for the most awesome remake of M ever? [more inside]
Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young is a long and link-heavy examination of the relationship between Neil Young's "Southern Man" and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama." If you'd prefer a briefer, much more rocking version of the story, try the song "Ronnie and Neil" by the Drive-By Truckers.