The Ten Lynyrd Skynyrd Deep Tracks Every Classic Rock Fan Should Hear
On October 20th, 1977 the classic era of Lynyrd Skynyrd came to a tragic end when their twin engine plane went down in a swamp in Gillsburg, Mississippi.
In its wake, the band left behind an impressive collection of hit songs known to millions of rock fans around the world thanks to regular airplay on classic rock stations to this day. If you were to dig deeper into the band's early catalogue, however, you will find there is a list of hidden gems just as impressive.
These are the ten Lynyrd Skynyrd deep tracks every classic rock fan should hear.
Recorded as a demo in October of 1970 during the band's formative days this song was never included on any Skynyrd studio album. Thankfully it was finally released on the band's box set released in 1991.
The song starts with a slow burn until the crashing of the cymbals lead you into the story of the dark and twisted world of a junkie out of control. Listen to the echo effect on the late great Ronnie Van Zandt's vocals and tell me you don't feel chills running down your spine.
Taken from the very first Lynyrd Skynyrd album, 1973's '(Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd)', this has that classic Skynyrd groove. The song was written by guitarist Ed King, one of the band's early secret song-writing weapons. King either wrote or co-wrote songs like "Saturday Night Special", "Workin' For MCA" and another one you may have heard of called "Sweet Home Alabama".
Another demo recorded in October of 1970 which would have never seen the light of day if not for the 1991 box set. This could have easily made the cut for the band's first album but didn't because the songs that did make the cut were just so damn good.
It's been said that fame and fortune doesn't change the person who becomes famous but it does change the people around them. Singer Ronnie Van Zandt sings about his own price to pay for fame on this classic from '75s 'Nuthin' Fancy' album.
This one was written by the team of guitarist Gary Rossington and singer Ronnie Van Zandt and appears on the 'Street Survivors' album released just days before the fateful plane crash that took Van Zandt's life in 1977.
An interesting side note on this one - The drums you hear on this track are from the now current Skynyrd guitarist Rickey Medlocke. Medlocke was the band's drummer during the first few years of the band's existence before rejoining them in 1996 and has been with them ever since.
Another example of Lynyrd Skynyrd's ability to groove like no other band can. The harmonica work done by Jimmy Hall on this one. Mr. Choo Choo Train take me away!
One of the greatest drum openings in rock history. Drummer Bob Burns' fancy work with the symbols, drum pedal and snare is the very first thing fans heard when they dropped the needle on the debut Skynyrd album '(Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd)'. How about that guitar lick? It's Southern rock at it's finest.
Slow and nasty, this is another hidden classic from the 'Nuthin' Fancy' album. Guitarist Allen Collins gets co-writing credit on this track about a rocker on the hunt for a groupie who is willing and able to do whatever it takes to please her man even if it's just for one night.
Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded some amazing material between 1971 and 1972 at the famous Muscle Shoals studios in Alabama but they were shelved. Thankfully they ended up on 1978s 'Skynyrd's First and...Last' album, a posthumous compilation released nearly a year after the band's tragic plane crash.
This is classic Ronnie Van Zandt both lyrically and vocally. His voice had grit with just the right bit of sweetness. Very few singers in rock history have been able to come across as a bad-ass with a soft side and pull it off. Ronnie Van Zandt was one of those precious few.
This is the deep track equivalent of "Free Bird" in my opinion. In fact, it may be the most beautifully crafted song in Lynyrd Skynyrd history.
The sweeping guitars, the elegant piano work of Billy Powell and that unmistakable voice of Ronnie Van Zandt. Being in a famous rock 'n' roll band may have taken him around the world to some of the most amazing places but he never forgot where he came from.
I always hear this song when I think of Ronnie's spirit ascending from the fallen airplane and into rock 'n' roll heaven on that fateful day in October of 1977.