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Skynyrd's Current Guitar Lineup Explains How Allen Collins Soared Through 'Free Bird'

Rickey medlocke Songs | Skynyrd's Current Guitar Lineup Explains How Allen Collins Soared Through 'Free Bird' | Country Music Videos
Photo credit: CMT

If you're a fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd, then we don't need to tell you that "Free Bird" showcases some of the best instrumental work in the history of rock music. The driving force behind the power of "Free Bird's" instrumentals was Allen Collins, who played lead guitar on the song and also wrote the initial chords. 

Allen's part in "Free Bird" has a status just as iconic as the song itself. Because of that, many have wondered what exactly it was that Allen did to make his part in "Free Bird" soar. 

Thanks to Skynyrd's current guitar lineup, consisting of Rickey Medlocke, Sparky Matejka, and founding member Gary Rossington, we know part of the answer.

Rickey, Sparky, and Gary all sat down with Guitar World for an in-depth interview in 2009. During the interview, which appears in a four-part series on YouTube, the three talented guitarists broke down the guitar parts to some of Skynyrd's most recognizable songs, including "Free Bird." 

While Gary and Sparky looked on, Rickey broke down Allen's part, and explained how he executed a special technique that gave it a unique and interesting sound.

"That's what really great about that," Rickey said. "Allen had a way of pedaling each note...He pedaled, he rolled the notes, and it's really cool."

Then, Rickey explained how the things Allen did in "Free Bird" fit perfectly with the rest of the band. It was this perfect fit, he said, that added even further to the "cool" factor of the song:

"That's what's so great about the little inner workings of the tune. That coupled with what he does," he said, gesturing toward Gary, "and what [keyboardist] Billy [Powell] did, it just worked man, it just did."

It definitely worked, because "Free Bird" is considered as one of the most iconic rock songs of all time. You can watch Rickey, Gary, and Sparky's full interview here, and when you're done, see Allen work his magic in the live performance of "Free Bird" in the video below.

Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd & Second Helping Live' is available now on DVD, Blu-ray and digital formats - it's the perfect gift for the Lynyrd Skynyrd fan in your life. Buy it here on Amazon!

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