If there is one song that defines Lynyrd Skynyrd, it must surely be "Free Bird". If it wasn't for that song, I doubt they'd ever get played on Radio 2.
So surely any Essential Collection, Greatest Hits, or Best Of compilation must include it?
Take this one - 2001s The Collection.
- "Sweet Home Alabama" - check
- "Gimme Back My Bullets" - check
- "That Smell" - check
- "Whiskey Rock-A-Roller" - check
- "Free Bird" - che ... oh
I'm imagining one of three conversations in the Spectrum Records offices at the time of preparation and release:
- "Shall we leave "Free Bird" off and see if anyone notices?"
- "Are you sure you've covered their whole career, and this album is definitive?". "Yes, I think so. Can't see anything missing"
(3 months later: "Whoops!")
- "Do you know, I've heard that song so often I'm fed up with hearing it and refuse to put it on the album"
You may think you've heard the song enough times, know every phrase, movement and guitar accent. But the moment that organ starts, the acoustic strummed chords kick in, and that shrill guitar intro leads into the song, one cannot help but reach for the volume knob and revel in the next 9 minutes (or longer if you plump for one of the many fine fine live versions out there).