checks out the unmistakable style of Freebird and Sweet Home Alabama’s legends of southern rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Lynyrd Skynyrd formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1964 with the moniker My Backyard. They went through various name changes before settling on Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1969.
After playing throughout Florida to sell-out crowds, the band was discovered by songwriter and record producer Al Kooper. Kooper produced their debut album, Pronounced ‘Leh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd, featuring Ronnie Van Zant on lead vocals, guitarists Gary Rossington and Allen Collins, and Ed King on bass (Leon Wilkeson had left prior to the album being recorded, but rejoined soon after). Drummer Bob Burns and keysman Billy Powell completed the line-up. Collins also stayed on as a third guitarist for their live shows. The album featured the southern rock style for which the band became known, and has been listed at number 403 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time, selling over two million copies along the way.
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s musical style is a blend of country and blues mixed with a little bit of British rock, and they have been at the forefront of the southern rock genre since helping to define it four decades ago. The band’s early profile was not hurt by playing support to The Who on their Quadrophenia tour.
The band continued to write and record throughout the 70s. And although success had begun to slide somewhat they still played to large crowds and were scheduled to headline Madison Square Garden in 1977 when tragedy struck after three members, including lead singer and founder Ronnie Van Zant were killed in a plane crash prior to the Madison Gardens gig. Backing vocalist Cassie Gaines’s brother Steve had joined on guitar and he was also tragically killed in the crash, after which the group disbanded. They reformed in 1987 with Ronnie’s brother Johnny Van Zant on vocals, on a tour that was documented by a great live album. The band has survived many trials and tribulations over the years, and in 2012 they released Last Of A Dyin’ Breed.
This month we’re in D (D-E-F#-G-A-B-C#) but with a D Mixolydian (D-E-F#-G-A-B-C) sound in many places. This is highlighted in the main chord progression with D, Cadd9 and G5 chords. The phrasing on the chords and lead fills is fairly easy to play, and the solo is also straightforward. Keep an eye on timing and accuracy, aiming for a loose and lazy (but not scrappy) feel. Check out playing tips and Get The Tone for more info.
LYNYRD SKYNYRD HAS BEEN AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE SOUTHERN ROCK MOVEMENT SINCE HELPING TO DEFINE IT FOUR DECADES AGO
Skynyd’s Rickey Medlocke and Gary Rossington