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Not only is Lynyrd Skynyrd known for being talented performers, but songwriters as well. Ever since the earliest days of the band, its members have been writing songs that have made their mark on music history.
When Skynyrd released their last album in 2012, called Last of a Dyin’ Breed, some of the band members sat down for exclusive, behind the scenes interviews about the band and the new record. One of the topics that came up was the band’s songwriting process, and founding member Gary Rossington shared that it’s mainly a team effort.
“We kind of just do it all together and when the idea runs out somebody else comes up with something,” he said, adding that the teamwork approach makes the process easier and more enjoyable. “It’s pretty cool, it’s pretty easy, and there’s not a lot of pressure to write it all on your own. If you get a little verse or a chorus or something in your head you can say it. Everybody else takes off too. It works.“
Lead vocalist Johnny Van Zant echoed Gary’s comments, saying they all like writing together since their ideas bounce off of one another all the time, but they do like writing with outside people as well.
So what topics does the band try to focus on when they’re writing a song, and where do their ideas come from? Well as Johnny shared, it’s all a pretty simple process.
“[We] try to write stuff about common people and the things that we know about,” he said. “We also drive around a lot in the car and listen to the CD and bounce ideas off.“
Sometimes, Johnny says that they will start writing a song without having any words to it at all, and will just kind of hum along to the tune. “We’ve actually done a few tracks without any lyrics or anything on them, just with melodies on it,” he said.
It seems that Skynyrd’s songwriting process definitely works, because they’ve written some of the most iconic songs in all of rock history! Tune in below to learn more about how Skynyrd crafts all of the songs we know and love.