“Free Bird” Flies Again As Lynyrd Skynyrd Celebrate A Spirited, Bittersweet Reunion

“Free Bird” Flies Again As Lynyrd Skynyrd Celebrate A Spirited, Bittersweet Reunion | Society Of Rock Videos

Steve Emberton via tumblr.com/rollforrock

1979 Marked The Band’s First Performance In Two Years

Maybe it’s luck, maybe it’s Divine will – or maybe it’s just good old fashioned stubbornness and a fighting spirit that brought Lynyrd Skynyrd back onto the stage after the tragic plane crash that claimed the lives of their friends. Many said it couldn’t be done: with three key members of the band gone, guitarist Gary Rossington faced a long road of recovery after walking away from the crash with two broken arms, legs, feet and wrists alongside several broken ribs and a fractured hip. Guitarist Allen Collins had to undergo numerous operations to renew a heavily damaged arm that nearly required amputation.

Despite the long road ahead, in January 1979 they joined Charlie Daniels’ Volunteer Jam V where for the first time since the crash Lynyrd Skynyrd performed – choosing the ever symbolic “Free Bird” to celebrate what was both a spirited and bittersweet reunion. An instrumental with a lone microphone stand at the front of the stage, “Free Bird” may have begun with a whisper – but it ended with a roar! With a flourish of piano keys, Billy Powell leads the band on the spirited jam session we all know and love with Allen and Gary launching into a two pronged guitar attack for the song’s solo and the crowd going absolutely wild at seeing shades of a band they thought they’d never see again.

Fun Fact: Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Volunteer Jam V reunion featured the talents of Charlie Daniels and members of his band.

That night, “Free Bird” meant more to Lynyrd Skynyrd than ever before. It was a eulogy for the ones they loved and lost, saying the “I love you, see ya later” they didn’t get a chance to say in 1977; but by the same token, “Free Bird” was a thank you to the God that allowed them to come together in the spirit of rock and roll and friendship, no matter how short the time may have been.

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd & Second Helping Live’ is available now on DVD, Blu-ray and digital formats – it’s the perfect gift for the Lynyrd Skynyrd fan in your life. Buy it here on Amazon!

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