I'm going to make this sorta quick because I'm the last person on earth that should be tasked with Eugooglazing anyone or anything. But waking up to the news that southern rock legend Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd passed away "hit me in the feels" this morning, as the kids would say.
If you want a fantastic (and quick!) look into who and what Skynyrd was, I highly recommend watching the band's documentary on Netflix titled "If I Leave Here Tomorrow". It's only about an hour and a half long and does a fantastic job of detailing the band's genesis, it's rise to stardom, their "break" and of course, the plane crash that cut the lives of lead singer Ronnie Van Zandt, guitarist Steve Gaines and backup vocalist (and Gaines' wife) Cassie Gaines short.
Here's a clip where Rossington is talking about the crash:
That is DEEP detail. For something so horrific, he remembers every detail, and there were a LOT of details to remember... Including guardian angels lifting a plane door off him after the crash/prior to going to the hospital where some of his best friends had already died. It's bone-chilling listening to Rossington and others describe that awful day. Truly.
Even with the passing of many in the band, their music lived on, as it will today with Rossington's passing.
I know it's very cliche to say that, but there's not an American soul on earth who doesn't know the hook to Sweet Home Alabama or doesn't air guitar to the Free Bird three-guitar attack any time they're played, which is still a TON 50ish years after those songs were released.
Those lyrics and those riffs are burned into the minds of every one of us.
NOTE: the band used the Confederate Flag on stage because they wanted European people to know they're not northern Americans and that they were from the south. They are adamant this was the reason why and weren't trying to make a political statement and that they had no idea the shit storm it would eventually cause
Simply put, Lynyrd Skynyrd is not just one of the greatest American bands of all time, one of the greatest bands of all time period.
I'd say Skynyrd's Jacksonville colleagues Duane and Greg Allman put southern rock on the map, but that Skynyrd perfected it. Their album Second Helping will never, ever get old to me. It's a perfect rock and roll album that has perfect songs like The Ballad of Curtis Loew, Call Me The Breeze and of course, Sweet Home Alabama.
Give it a listen now:
Or better yet, just watch a full live concert. Rock and Roll is always better that way. Can watch Gary and Steve melt your face off with their guitar playing:
But that's not to say the rest of their catalogue wasn't great as well. All their early albums were amazing. Pronounced "Leh-nerd Skin-nerd", Gimme Back My Bullets, Street Survivors and whatever else I'm missing… all A+ albums that stand the test of time. Sure, Second Helping gets most of the love but goddamn. The band only had like a 4-5 year run before the plane crash and each album was fan-fucking-tastic.
So RIPIP to Gary Rossington. Those dudes from Jacksonville left an indelible mark on music. Pour back a whiskey for those southern gentlemen tonight!!!
We'll talk about it this week on Barstool Backstage: