By Bad Seed
- July 4'th 1977, Oakland, great quality.
"Free Bird" (also spelled "Freebird") is a song by the American southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. It was first featured on the band's debut album (Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd) in 1973, and has been included on subsequent albums released by the band.
Released as a single in November 1974, "Free Bird" became the band's second Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1975, where it peaked at No. 19. A live version of the song also reached the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977, peaking at No. 38. Free Bird also achieved the No. 3 spot on Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Solos.
It is used as a finale by Lynyrd Skynyrd during their live performances, and is their longest song, often going well over 14 minutes when played live.
The lyrical portion of the song was written early in the group's history. Roadie Billy Powell was discovered as a keyboardist for the band when he played the intro piece to "Free Bird" at a high school prom. Lead vocalist Ronnie Van Zant noted his talent and invited him to join.
Allen Collins's then-girlfriend, Kathy, whom he later married, asked him, "If I leave here tomorrow would you still remember me?" Collins jotted the question down and it eventually became the opening line of "Free Bird".
Gary Rossington played a Gibson SG and used a glass Coricidin bottle for a slide on this song to emulate one of his heroes, Duane Allman. This was the only song he used a guitar other than a Les Paul on. He also stuck a nail like piece of metal under the strings near the nut to raise the action of the guitar when playing slide. The guitar's B string was tuned down to a G during this song. Rossington currently uses two G strings tuned to G instead of tuning down a B string.