Southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded "Free Bird" in 1973 and it featured on their debut album "(Pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd)". The album contained several staples and the classic Freebird. With it’s ballad piano and slide guitar opening morphing into heavy rock and searing guitar solo, this song, first conceived by Collins and Van Zant in the late 60s, was a forerunner to other epic rock songs of similar structure like Stairway to Heaven and Bohemian Rhapsody.
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.
Legend has it that it was Allen Collins’s partner, Kathy, who asked him one day: “If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?” This became the famous opening line which was later augmented by a gentle piano introduction which had been written by the band’s roadie. So impressed were the band that they formally asked roadie Billy Powell to join as their keyboardist.
If I leave here tomorrow Would you still remember me? For I must be traveling on, now Cause there's too many places I've got to see But, if I stayed here with you, girl Things just couldn't be the same Cause I'm as free as a bird now And this bird you can not change Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh And this bird you can not change And this bird you can not change Lord knows, I can't change
Bye, bye, baby, it's been a sweet love Though this feeling I can't change But please don't take it so badly Cause Lord knows I'm to blame But, if I stayed here with you, girl Things just couldn't be the same Cause I'm as free as a bird now And this bird you'll never change Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh And this bird you can not change And this bird you can not change Lord knows, I can't change Lord help me, I can't change Lord, I can't change Won't you fly high, free bird, yeah
Songwriters: Allen Collins / Ronnie Van Zant
Free Bird lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group