Freebird – Lynyrd Skynyrd


You’ve probably heard of Freebird. If you have, you probably think of it as one of the world’s greatest songs, or as a complete party stopper. If you haven’t heard of Freebird, here’s a little spoiler alert. One of those descriptions is accurate. Guess which one.

It’s one of the world’s greatest songs. Ever. I mean it. It’s a bit slow, is mostly about how this one guy has so much freedom and that if he stays with this woman, things can’t be the same. HOWEVER, the last four minutes, or so, are the greatest four minutes of any song, on any album, by any band, for any purpose, in any decade of any century. That’s a That Guy Fact. #53 to be exact. I’ll be writing a list for you all some time.

So, the song. As I say, the lyrics are a bit… off, but when I say that, I say it knowing that in reality, lyrics do not make a song. Sure, that makes everything I have ever said about lyrics completely irrelevant. I should rephrase that to be ‘lyrics are not always needed, to make an accurate and fair judgement of a song’. That’s better. Am I still hired?

So, the lyrics are a bit sucky. They fit the mood at the start, but that’s where the mood ends, because somewhere in the planning stages of this song, they decided to cheer things up a bit, with a FOUR MINUTE GUITAR SOLO! Yes. Four minutes of guitar solo. Now, I know, guitar does not make a song. BUT THIS TIME, IT DOES!

No, be serious. It’s not just the guitar. The way the lyrics are sang work well with the mood, the sudden change from ‘oh so moody’ to ‘yay! guitar!’, is brilliant and again, works well.

My policy to avoid looking at the video, has been met again, so I can’t comment on that part. I can, however, say, that anything which doesn’t involve an eagle flying through a valley, with a camera strapped to its back and a mini-version of Lynyrd Skynyrd playing awesome guitar on it’s back, would disappoint me greatly.

That said, how can I score this?

I have to take the lyrics into account here, so, although it would easily be in my top ten of absolutely any list of songs, I cannot give it a 10/10 score. sorry Lynyrd.

8/10

That Guy

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6 thoughts on “Freebird – Lynyrd Skynyrd

  1. In my opinion, Free Bird should be in two parts.
    Free Bird (side a) is a 5 minute song, with lyrics that are bereft of real meaning.
    Free Bird (side b) is a 4 minute solo, although it seems much longer.

    I find Free Bird is best suited to one situation; getting the most of your money on a Jukebox.
    Other ‘Jukebox Economy’ songs I rate are:
    – I Will Do Anything For Love (but I won’t do that) [full version inc. extended piano solo] by MeatLoaf
    – Kashmir by Led Zeppelin
    – Hotel California by The Eagles
    – most songs by Rush or King Crimson (if it’s a slightly more eclectic jukebox).

    Any combination of these examples ensure that you will:
    a) Make the most of your £1 you put in the jukebox by maximising playtime vs. money spent
    b) Piss off anyone else who wanted to use the Jukebox in the next hour or so
    c) infuriate the bar staff
    and d) eventually empty the pub.

    Other pub-emptying jukebox playlists include:
    – Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ album, in it’s entirety (nb. this may also have the effect of, rather than emptying the pub, causing everyone to drink more)
    – a selection of Venetian Snares tracks (Meta Abuse is a must)
    – Any Kraftwerk album (in it’s entirety)
    – Any and all Post-Rock.

    Not because these are bad songs or albums, but because they go on for ages and make almost everyone incredibly miserable, especially when combined with alcohol.

    I have been privy to a couple of these, and have witnessed their effects.

    For a time, the pub I work in had a jukebox, which had ‘Classical’ as a selectable genre on there. I like classical music, it’s quite nice to have on while you’re working, but when one of our regulars had had enough of the metalheads outside putting on endless Pantera and decided that he would put on Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ (4 tracks = £1, excellent jukebox economy there) and then leave, I felt a little cheated, and the music felt like it went on forever.
    This was, however, welcome respite from the noodley jazz that the box’s ‘Random’ function seemed to prefer. I’m fine with jazz, but when every other song that comes on ‘Random’ is a 7 minute experimental jazz odyssey, I begin to question just how ‘Random’ that setting was, and without a free play button at our disposal, we had to keep hitting the ‘Reject’ button every ten minutes.

    I went off on one a bit there, sorry.

  2. I’m afraid can’t disagree with you any more, on this one. Freebird, Kashmir, I Would Do Anything For Love and Hotel California are all spectacular songs and, in my opinion, should be force-fed to the fools that thing Jay Z and Azealia Banks are good singers. We’re living in a world where the good music has been lost to time, and those that actually try to maintain it are criticised and labelled as the kinds of people that are just trying to be mainstream, when in reality, it’s more likely that they genuinely like the good music.

    We’ve lost the likes of Queen, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Meatloaf, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Oasis, Coldplay, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, R.E.M, Stealers Wheels, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dire Straits, Chuck Berry, Mike Oldfield, The Police, Bon Jovi, Pink Floyd, Kool and the Gang, Elvis, Eric Johnson, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Ben E. King, Thin Lizzy, George Thoroughgood, Travis, Nena, Foghat, Van Halen, Status Quo, Supergrass, David Bowie, Bob Marley, A-ha, James, John Denver, Billy Idol, Blur, Stereophonics, Manfred Mann, The Monkees and Bob Dylan, among sooooo many more that I can’t remember without checking through my ‘good music’ collection.

    These last few decades have been steadily worsening the taste of music for the whole world and even though you get the occasional lyricist that can actually make a good song (Ed Sheeran, or, sometimes, LMFAO), there just isn’t enough of the good, original stuff, like we used to get back in the golden years. You might write them off as being a tool for making your money’s worth due to their length, but that length is almost always saturated with quality. Almost always. Sure, Freebird isn’t as good a song, lyrically, as it could be, but be honest. Name me any song with perfect lyrics. Go on. Name one.

    You can’t, and you know why? Because every song has either decent lyrics, with great music, great lyrics with decent music, or it’s all shite. That’s how it works. it shouldn’t be, but it is. I just want there to be the perfect song, just once. I thought Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist’, was pretty close, but now… Now I’m not so sure.

    My point is, you can’t just define a song by it’s length, just like I can’t. There’s always more to it than that. Bat Out Of Hell is 7 minutes of pure awesome, then 3 minutes of ‘when will this end’. I’ll be honest, when I first ‘listened’ to Freebird, I thought the same. It feels like ages, but actually listen and BAM! It’s seen as the gold that it is.

    So, you thought you could go off on one… I think I might have gone off on a completely different one, with an even better list. Beat that Mischief!

    -TG

    PS. On a serious note though, my opinions in this comment are 100% genuine and I sincerely mean that. I love all of those bands, to varying degrees (and I consider them all bands, even though Ben E. King and Mike Oldfield (for example) are single people, rather than groups) and am disappointed with the way Coldplay have tried to appeal to the masses with their later work, such as Mylo Xyloto and others. Damn you Coldplay… Damn you!

  3. Aha, Mr. Guy, good retort.
    I would however have to disagree with you again.
    As I said, Freebird has a high jukebox economy, and personally it’s not one of my favourites, however some of the others, are. I really like Kashmir, I’m a big fan of Led Zeppelin and I enjoy a lot of the bands you mentioned. I will openly admit to that.
    Even Manfred Mann.

    And, if on the odd occasion, through no fault of my own, I hear (not listen to, hear) Radio 1, I do find that most of it is utter shite. But that’s my opinion.
    Radio 1 and all of the ‘Now that’s what I call Music’s are full of music for people who don’t like music. But that’s just my opinion.
    People are allowed to listen to and enjoy this stuff, and in fact, only yesterday I got to thinking:

    ‘Maybe, just maybe, this is just my brain’s way of confirming my age.
    It’s my job, as being a member of the ‘older generation’ (hardly, but for the purposes of this argument it stands) that the music that ‘The Kids’ listen to nowadays should be shite. That’s just the way of the world. See, it’s not -for- us.

    I enjoy a lot of the bands you listed, as I mentioned, but I’m sure there would be some things that either of us like that that other didn’t. I am well into my Electro, which most people see as not being ‘music’ because the people don’t play real instruments or something. ‘Fine’, I say, ‘That’s your opinion. I prefer Blur to Oasis, however What’s The Story (Morning Glory)? was one of the seminal albums of my formative years, but it doesn’t make your opinion any less valid.’
    ‘However,’ I then follow up with, ‘That Cascada cover of Skater Boy is one of the most disgusting things to ever be created.’ and they then agree with me and everyone is happy.

    I don’t think we’re losing music like there was in the 60’s, I think we don’t idolise musicians in the same was as we used to. We have pop icons, but we don’t have any musicians we consider to be next to gods, like we used to with Jimmy Page or Jimi Hendrix or the like.
    Times change, music changes, and our tastes along with it.

    There are some great musicians on that list, personally I don’t rate LMFAO or Ed Sheeran, but they’re not for me. I’m just an old fart like that.

  4. P.S. I can think of several songs whose lyrics and tunes I love, and although I’m not sure you will appreciate all of them, I’m sure you will agree with me on Shane MacGowan’s lyrical prowess, and the musical talents of The Pogues, or Led Zeppelin’s ever faithful Stairway to Heaven, or The Immigrant Song.
    There are some tracks with good lyrics and tunes, you just have to find them. I guess, the potency of lyrics also has to do with how they resonate with you. Some songs really meant a lot to me at a certain time in my life, but now they mean very little other than nostalgia.

    • Ah, but if there’s anything that Doug Walker has taught me, it’s that nostalgia is a good thing. Never try to forget the good times, or even the not so good times. It’s like Kirk said in Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country, I think it is.

  5. Sorry, didn’t see your proper message until just now. Gotta hate the WordPress ordering system.

    You know what I hate? ‘Call Me Maybe’, or whatever it’s called. Glorified whoring, yet our oh so great Radio 1 (which I listen to on most of my weekdays), insists on playing it almost daily. I shout at the radio each time, hoping that it’s become sentient and will change the song, or even just run away.

    I refuse to accept that it’s my age showing. I’m 18 for crying out loud. It can’t be my age. I like some modern music – more than I care to accept – but I find that almost all of the music worthy of my attention are from the years before my birth.

    We shouldn’t label a dislike of modern music, as a sign of age. It’s just not right. We get pensioners that like the shite, because of some stupid reason I can’t be arsed to come up with. There’s always exceptions to the rule. Look at the ‘Go-Wonga’ adverts, or whatever it is. The granny loves techno. Fine. Let her. Someone has to, right?

    In short, don’t let your age be an excuse for the type of music you love or hate. Please, for all of our sakes, let age be an excuse for how you rate the music you love or hate. With experience, comes knowledge, and with knowledge, comes fairer opinions. I’m 18, fairly inexperienced in most fields, yet here I am doing my best to give fair opinions. I was brought up on a combination of the older and newer stuff, at the time, and the only person making me listen to the newer stuff was someone I didn’t get on with, so I ended up hard-wired to dislike modern music. Nothing I can do about it. I mean, sure, I listen to and occasionally review the more modern music, but I can’t get into most of it. I’ll tap my foot, or imitate the drums on the table, but I won’t sing it unless I’m extremely drunk, or bored as hell. An old song, sure, so long as I know the lyrics. Now, funny fact, Freebird has just started playing through my headphones (it was on random), so I’m gonna end this before the guitar.

    I’d recommend Sheeran to anyone and everyone. He’s the closest thing we have to the older style of music, nowadays, and he actually writes meaningful songs. Sure, Lego House didn’t seem too meaningful, but Small Bump… That song always gets me. Songs don’t do that to me… They just don’t. Sure, you might not like him, but don’t write him off too early!

    -TG

    PS. There’s nothing wrong with Manfred Mann. Evidence? Blinded By The Light!

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