Lynyrd Skynyrd: “Sweet Home Alabama”

ALBUM: Second Helping

YEAR: 1974

WRITERS: Ronnie Van Zant, Ed King, Gary Rossington

Peaked at number-eight on the Billboard Hot 100.

Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington says that the late Ronnie Van Zant’s lyrics to “Sweet Home Alabama” were certainly inspired by Neil Young, but also celebrating some things he liked about the state at the time. “It was kind of a cut back to him ’cause ‘Southern Man’ cut down the South and ‘Alabama’ and all those songs. So we wanted to say, ‘Hey, you’re from Canada, what do you know about the South, anyway?’ You know? And Ronnie put it in there kinda as a joke. But everything else is real, and the part about Governor Wallace and all this, when he was running for President and everybody hated him but us, we just kinda put it all in there and it turned out like it did.”

“Sweet Home Alabama” was released as a single on July 27th, 1974. Today is also the 15th anniversary of the death of Lynyrd Skynyrd bassist Leon Wilkeson at age 49.


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