Sean’s music 22 … Lynyrd Skynyrd

21st birthday party in Mullagh last summer - thanks to Ciaran for the photo

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.

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5 Comments

Filed under Ireland, Memories, Music

5 responses to “Sean’s music 22 … Lynyrd Skynyrd

  1. Dave

    Hi Brendan,

    Loved Neil Young and Lynyrd Skynyrd! In the mid to late 70s we (my biker buddies) used to frequent a few biker clubs and events around Ireland and I remember the Skynyrd songs you’ve posted in particular being played regularly. They were a biker type anthem at one stage, particularly ‘Freebird’.

    I was probably listening to Neil Young before I started on Skynyrd though and one of my favourites was ‘Southern Man’ which was the song that Skynyrd responded to in ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. I’ve no doubt that the Skynyrd guys would have agreed with the sentiments in ‘Southern Man’ but, when you’re from a place, it’s kind of natural I suppose to feel you have to defend it!
    I think Phil Lynott referred to something like that once when he said something along the lines of ‘I’ll slag Ireland off when I’m at home but when I’m abroad it’s the best place on earth!’………or something like that!

    Great songs! I’m glad Sean liked them, I’d say he would have liked the strong rythym in ‘Southern Man’ too.

    Take care

    Dave

    • Hi Dave … thanks for that. Yes, I think you’re spot on re Skynyrd’s reaction to Young. ‘Southern Man’ is a great song too, and also ‘Alabama’ from the Harvest album.

      Funny you should mention Lynott … I was going to do this post on Thin Lizzy at first, but then changed my mind … another day.

      Six months this Sunday since Sean died. We had some good fun and some drinks with three of his friends last Sunday … they called to the house. We love to see his friends. I met six of them in the graveyard on Saturday. Lots of messages on Facebook from people saying they miss him more than ever.

      Talk to you soon.

  2. Sean’s friend Philip (Pilib in Irish) is to his right, as we look, in the photo. Regarding the photo, Philip and Pauline had this online conversation:

    Philip: me and seans antics that nite will go down in history, hadnt really had a nite out with him in a while but by god we made up for it that nite

    Pauline: We will have to hear about it sometime Pilib

    Philip: dont worry Pauline il fill you next time i see you 🙂

    Pauline: Censored version I think

    Philip: haha the version suitable for a mothers ears although sean had the great comfort off been able to tell you and brendon the whole story, alot of lads his age had to tone it down alot, and thats a major credit to the three of you

    Pauline: Ha it’s funny he would tell us after the event.I remember when he was only 13 or 14 he asked could he sleep over at Donal’s house. Next day he told us about the brilliant night he had camping out in Virginia walking around the lake until all hours having deep conversations about life etc. They tucked themselves between a container and a wall at the school.The little monkeys!

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