'Free Bird' - Lynyrd Skynyrd

Writers: Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant

Producer: Al Kooper

Recorded: 1973 at Studio One, Doraville, Georgia

Released: 1973 (album), November 1974 (edited single)

Players: Ronnie Van Zandt--lead vocals
Allen Collins--guitar
Gary Rossington--guitar
Billy Powell--piano
Roosevelt Cook--organ
Ed King--bass
Robert Burns--drums
Album: Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd (MCA, 1973)

Lynyrd Skynyrd named itself for Leonard Skinner, a redneck high school gym teacher who used to give the members a lot of grief about the length of their hair.

"Free Bird," an immediate fan favorite thanks to its long, guitar-fueled closing, became the group's regular concert closer.

The song was not released as a single until after the group's second album had already come out. In response to the popularity of "Free Bird," a shortened version was issued. It reached the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in January 1975 and peaked at Number 19.

It has sometimes been described as a tribute to the late Duane Allman.

The epic live version on One More From The Road, recorded at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, is preceded by lead singer Ronnie Van Zant's immortal introduction, "What song is it you wanna hear?"

It's an even more intense jam than the studio version, not only because it's live but also because third guitarist Steve Gaines had recently joined the band and the other two guitarists, Allen Collins and Gary Rossington, were trying to equal his fervor. "He's scared everybody into playing their best in years," Van Zant said at the time.

The live version was also issued as a single in December 1976. It spent two weeks in the top 40 of Billboard's Hot 100 in January 1977, peaking at Number 38.

One More From The Road was the band's first million-selling album.

Freebird: The Movie is a concert film taken mostly from the band's August 1976 appearance at England's Knebworth Fair, a famous show wherein Lynyrd Skynyrd upstaged the Rolling Stones. But a few tracks are from other concerts, and the title track was recorded in Oakland-Alameda County Stadium on July 3, 1977, when the band opened for Peter Frampton.