|This began as a ballad without the guitar
solos at the end, and they 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 7 1/2 minutes long, but throughout the next year, Collins
continued to refine the song until it was recorded for the final cut
of Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd in 1973. (thanks, Aaron -
Twin Cities, MN)
|Collins wrote the music long before Ronnie Van
Zant came up with lyrics for it. Van Zant finally got inspired one
night and had Collins and Gary Rossington play it over and over
until he wrote the words.
|The lyrics are about a man explaining to a
girl why he can't settle down and make a commitment.
|Allman Brothers Band guitarist Duane Allman
died around the same time this was released. Skynyrd sometimes
dedicated it to Allman at concerts, but it was written long before
his death. The double guitar solo at the end is the same style as
many early Allman Brothers songs on which Duane played.
|Skynyrd has played this only as an
instrumental since the 1977 plane crash that killed lead singer
Ronnie Van Zant. His brother, Johnny, took his place. For a while,
he wouldn't sing it - the band played it as an instrumental and the
crowd would sing the words.
|Their record company did not want this on the
album. They thought it was too long and that no radio station would
|The band never thought this was going to be a
|In 1976, a live version was released from the
One More For the Road live album. It went to #38.
|Skynyrd always plays this as the last song at
|This is a Classic Rock anthem. Shouting it out
as a request at concerts has become a Rock N' Roll joke. Every now
and then a musician will actually play it.
|In the US, this wasn't released as a single
until a year after the album came out. By that time, "Sweet Home
Alabama" had already been released, and the single version of "Free
Bird" was edited down. The long version from the album has always
been more popular.
|The band Will to Power scored a minor hit in
1988 with a medley of this and Peter Frampton's "Baby I Love Your
|This was Lynyrd Skynyrd's first album. They
gave it the title because they knew people would not be able to
pronounce their name.
|Skynyrd's 1991 boxed set contains a demo
version of this.