Turn It Up: 5 Serious Crowd Favorites You Never Knew Skynyrd Covered, And 2 You Did
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We know about “Free Bird” and “Simple Man,” and no respectable jukebox is complete without “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Gimme Three Steps” – but what about the songs Lynyrd Skynyrd didn’t write and still became some of the band’s best known songs and biggest hits?
The band’s influences span far and wide, going back to the early days of Delta blues and as far forward as the early 90’s, paying tribute to the ones who paved the way while still leaving the mark of their unique brand of Southern rock. Here’s a look back at 5 classics you never knew Lynyrd Skynyrd covered, and 2 you did!
1. “Crossroads” | Robert Johnson
Featured on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s very first live album One More
For From The Road, “Crossroads” was written and made famous by blues legend Robert Johnson in 1936. Traditionally performed as a solo piece with an acoustic slide guitar, Lynyrd Skynyrd turned this blues standard into an upbeat, funky cover similar to that of Cream’s version, highlighted by the talents of the band’s patented three lead guitar attack.
2. “Honky Tonk Night Time Man” | Merle Haggard + The Strangers
Ronnie Van Zant may have wound up a rocker, but he cut his teeth on the tunes of legendary country singer Merle Haggard. In 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd paid tribute to Mr. Haggard with a stunning rendition of “Honky Tonk Night Time Man,” and rumor has it that Steve Gaines not only nailed the guitar solo in one take, but he’d only heard “Honky Tonk Night Time Man” once or twice before heading into the studio!
3. “None Of Us Are Free” | Ray Charles
One of the coolest things about Lynyrd Skynyrd is the fact that they take musical influences from literally everywhere – and 1997’s nod to Ray Charles was no different! Featured on Twenty, “None Of Us Are Free” is a stunning take on the original featured on Ray Charles’ 1993 album My World and, backed by a horn section and a spectacular vocal performance by The Honkettes, sounds both everything and nothing like the Lynyrd Skynyrd we grew up with – and we love it.
4. “T For Texas (Blue Yodel #1)” | Jimmie Rodgers
“Gimme a T for Texas, gimme a T for Tennessee…” were the words sung by country legend Jimmie Rodgers when he penned “T For Texas (Blue Yodel #1)” in 1927. Though Jimmie’s life was cut short at 35, his legacy lives on through Lynyrd Skynyrd’s out of this world take on the country classic.
5. “Call Me The Breeze” | J.J. Cale
This list just wouldn’t be complete without a little J.J. Cale and his smash hit “Call Me The Breeze,” immortalized on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s sophomore album Second Helping. First appearing on Cale’s debut album Naturally, “Call Me The Breeze” got the Southern rock royal treatment with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s hard rockin’ rendition, and the band’s three lead guitar attack is never more stunning than when paired with late keyboardist Billy Powell’s bluesy piano riff at the end.
6. “Heartbreak Hotel” | Elvis Presley
The King may have left the building but Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1994 acoustic cover of “Heartbreak Hotel” is here to stay. Written in 1956 by Mae Axton after reading of the jumping suicide of a heartbroken man from a hotel window and featured on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Endangered Species, this cover of Elvis Presley’s most iconic ballad showed us a side of Lynyrd Skynyrd we hadn’t heard before. With no electric instruments behind him, singer Johnny Van Zant absolutely rocks this classic, giving “Heartbreak Hotel” an element of soul you never knew it needed.
7. “I Got The Same Old Blues” | J.J. Cale
Wherever J.J. Cale is, we’ve just got to thank him for this one! “I Got The Same Old Blues” is the second Cale classic to be covered by Lynyrd Skynyrd and where he gave the song a funky, r&b kind of feel, Lynyrd Skynyrd pick up where he left off with a delicious country tinged Southern rock feel. Gary Rossington’s slide guitar is the cornerstone of “I Got The Same Old Blues,” and when paired with Billy Powell’s piano playing you’ve got yourself another Lynyrd Skynyrd masterpiece!