We have a double CD of Lynyrd Skynyrd somewhere, with a lot of great tracks. Sean liked the band – especially the classics ‘Free Bird’ and, most of all, ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. He really loved ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, and he put it on a ‘rock mix’ CD that we’ve been listening to in the car lately. Lynyrd Skynyrd is one of the bands I mention in my ‘Come Back and See Me’ song – I vividly remember Sean and me singing along to ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ in the car as we went on our way.
That song appealed to Sean, I think, not only because of the irresistible rhythm and riffs but also because it was about being proud of where you come from, and defending it against criticism (Neil Young’s in this case – Sean liked Neil Young but preferred Lynyrd Skynyrd and would, I think, have sided with them). Sean was very proud of where he came from, and identified with the song.
Various members of the band have had a lot of trouble in their lives, and a total of eight one-time members are now deceased, according to the Wikipedia entry. Most notably, three members died, along with a member of their crew and the pilot and co-pilot, when their plane crashed between gigs on 20 October 1977 (the date of Sean’s funeral 33 years later). They were at the peak of their success at the time. Their music will live for ever.
I remember a live version of ‘Free Bird’ where several guitarists in the band take turns to do long solos, and each seems to be trying to outdo the one before him. Brilliant stuff from an extremely talented, if ill-starred, outfit. Thank you for the music, guys.
And Sean, I hope you are as free as a bird now. Love you always.