Your Cart

Subtotal: $ 0.00 USD

Keep Shopping

The Voice Of A Legend: Hear Ronnie Van Zant's Last Live 'Free Bird' Recording

Advertisement
Ronnie van zant Songs | The Voice Of A Legend: Hear Ronnie Van Zant's Last Live 'Free Bird' Recording | Country Music Videos
Photo credit: Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives/Richard McCaffrey
Advertisement

Often performed as the finale at their live performances, "Free Bird" is regarded as Lynyrd Skynyrd's signature song. Between the instrumental solos and lead singer Ronnie Van Zant's wickedly talented vocals, it's easy for anyone to hear why.

Released in 1973 off of the band's debut album, (pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd),"Free Bird" was co-written by Ronnie and Allen Collins, but the song wasn't an easy one to write at first. 

In an interview with Blender magazine, later cited by Songfacts, Lynyrd Skynyrd's guitarist Gary Rossington says that Ronnie thought Allen's initial version of the song, "had too many chords to write lyrics for." Finally, during a rehearsal Ronnie had Allen play the chords to the song over and over again, eventually writing the melody and lyrics in a matter of minutes.

"After about 20 minutes, Ronnie started singing, 'If I leave here tomorrow,' and it fit great. It wasn't anything heavy, just a love song about leavin' town, time to move on," said Gary.

The band added the guitar solos at the end of the song with the intent of giving Ronnie some time to rest when they played back to back shows. With the addition of keyboardist Billy Powell's intro to the song, "Free Bird" was complete, and the rest is history.

Typically lasting for 14 minutes total, "Free Bird" was a huge hit with the band's fans and an even larger audience. The song broke into the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, and Guitar World ranked the guitar solo as the third greatest guitar solo of all time.

At the Selland Arena in Fresno, California on August 24,1977, the band concluded their show with "Free Bird," like always, and were also being recorded by David L. "DJ" Johnson.

Little did any of them know that recording of "Free Bird" would be the band's last live recording of the song with Ronnie, who passed away in the infamous plane crash that also claimed the lives of bandmates Steve and Cassie Gaines on October 20, 1977.

With that information in mind, it makes this particular recording of "Free Bird" all the more valuable. The recording captures Ronnie's legendary voice and lyrics to Lynyrd Skynyrd's masterpiece, forever securing his place in music history.

You can listen to Ronnie's last live recording of "Free Bird" below.

Although Ronnie may be gone, he lives on in recordings like this, and through each and every member of Lynyrd Skynyrd today.

LYRICS BELOW 

If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be traveling on now
'Cause there's too many places I've got to see.

But if I stayed here with you, girl,
Things just couldn't be the same.
'Cause I'm as free as a bird now,
And this bird you can not change, oh, oh, oh, oh.
And this bird you can not change.
And this bird you can not change.
Lord knows I can't change.

Bye, bye, baby, it's been a sweet love, yeah,
Though this feeling I can't change.
But please don't take it so badly,
'Cause Lord knows I'm to blame.

But if I stayed here with you, girl,
Things just couldn't be the same.
'Cause I'm as free as a bird now,
And this bird you'll never change, oh, oh, oh, oh.
And this bird you cannot change.
And this bird you cannot change.
Lord knows, I can't change.
Lord, help me, I can't change.

Lord, I can't change.
Won't you fly high, free bird, yeah? 
Advertisement
Country Rebel on Spotify

Now On Spotify!

Follow

If you enjoyed this video, get email updates (it's free)

Trending Artists

Premium Partners

Country Rebel partner Society of Rock
Country Rebel partner Speed Society
Country Rebel partner Country Music Nation
Country Rebel partner Legend Valley Festivals
Country Rebel partner Moonshine Flats San Diego
Country Rebel partner The Bluestone

Interested in becoming a partner?

Contact us for more info.