Lynyrd Skynyrd: Freebird (demo, 1970)

 |   |  <1 min read

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Freebird (demo, 1970)

It's a joke that never ages, at a rock concert someone yells out "Free Bird". It's such a standard that the American writer Mitch Myers entitled his collection of rock anecdotes and fiction The Boy Who Cried Free Bird. Whoever that guy is, he's as notorious as the one who shouted "Judas" at Dylan.

The joke -- for those who have never heard Lynyrd Skynyrd's Free Bird from '73 -- is that the song seems interminable (it is actually 9.06 seconds on their Pronounced album) and contains marathon guitar parts by Gary Rossington on slide and then Allen Collins in the second half.

The song itself has a number of interesting features: Al Kooper played organ on it in the studio (as Roosevelt Gook); Collins had the music for six months before Ronnie Van Zandt wrote the lyrics; the first words came from what Collins' girlfriend said to him at a high school dance; and the original didn't have the midpoint tempo change which became its distinctive feature.

Over the years the song has appeared in extended live versions (of course) but here is their first demo, recorded at Quinvy Studios in Sheffield, Alabama in October 1970.

Curiously enough it doesn't sound half as good as the more famous long version -- and it is only half the length. 

For more one-off or unusual songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

The Nu Page: When the Brothers Come Marching Home (1973)

The Nu Page: When the Brothers Come Marching Home (1973)

The Nu Page were a one-single group signed to the Motown subsidiary label MoWest which released songs by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Thelma Houston and Tom Clay (whose version of Abraham... > Read more

Ernest Tubb: It's America, Love It or Leave It (1965)

Ernest Tubb: It's America, Love It or Leave It (1965)

The great patriot Tubb has appeared at From the Vaults before with his mind-numbingly awful It's For God and Country and You, Mom written by Dave McEnery. Ernest clearly like to keep... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

DAVE GROHL INTERVIEWED (1995): Post-grunge fun

DAVE GROHL INTERVIEWED (1995): Post-grunge fun

Through the swing doors, down the stairs, then hard right. Follow the corridor, then left, right and left again, then . . . umm. You’re in a scene from This Is Spinal Tap. Where, in... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS: The singer not the song, unfortunately

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS: The singer not the song, unfortunately

If you type in "world's worst singer" into Google and hit enter, the usual spew of teenage drivel comes up: people having a go at Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and so on. This... > Read more