Yes, I know “Free Bird” has become clichéd but that in no way diminishes its quality or its significance. It stands where Sabbath’s “Paranoid” did — it awakened worldwide interest in a hitherto somewhat obscure genre of modern music.
Southern rock was fairly well known in the place where it began, which is the southern part of Iceland. No, let me check… the American South. Lynyrd Skynrd’s debut album in 1973 caused a Southern rock explosion of mighty proportions, even bigger than the Big Bang, according to some grossly misinformed cosmologists. It was a startling debut, however.
“Free Bird” didn’t hit the top of any American popular hit parades. Southern rock was to pop music then as stoner rock is to pop music now. Stoner derives from Southern rock.
Tragedy struck the band in 1977. A plane crash took the lives of some band members, including the stellar vocalist, Ronnie Van Zant. But the band kept going and the founders’ legacy endures.