Free Bird (1973)

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant
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Skynyrd in 76When a song leaves the friendly confines of the planet and soars to interstellar space, it’s bound to encounter hazards the earthbound ones never experience.

With the best of intentions we put “Free Bird” onto the SongMango playlist Even The Big Dogs Need A Break, because if ever a song needed a rest in the cool of the evening, the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic is a leading nominee. It’s over there panting, catching its breath and relieved it has come to roost for a few quiet moments.

It’s wonderful, it’s marvelous, it’s thrilling, but it is frayed around the edges from over-use. Small children, octogenarians, hormonal teens, middle-aged men and women stuck in their jobs – they all want to let the caged bird inside them out.

Maya Angelou may know why the caged bird sings, but no one can quite account for why hundreds of millions want to air out their own deep connections to “Free Bird.” Read more at the Big Dog List.

  • Johnny Van Zant on “Free Bird”: “This kid was telling me that they used it for their graduation song and not too long ago somebody told me that they used it at a funeral. And really it’s a love song. Its one of the few that Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ever had. It’s about a guy and a girl. Of course at the end it was dedicated to Duane Allman from the Allman Brothers because it goes into the guitar part. If you can get through that one you’ve had a good night at a Skynyrd show.”
  • Of course, the lyrics contain the phrase “free as a bird” a number of times. But the title words “free bird” are used only once, immediately before the guitar soloing: “Won’t you fly high, free bird.”

Also by Lynyrd Skynyrd on

  • I Never Dreamed"I Never Dreamed," from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s album, Street Survivors, is as perfect an unheralded album cut as was ever recorded.
  • The Needle And The SpoonArguably the best hard-rockin’ anti-heroin song there is – a triple-guitar barrage that goes balls-out from the opening steamroller riff.