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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Ronnie Van Zant and Neil Young: Rebels with a Cause?

lynyrd-skynyrd-vanzant-tonights-joint.jpg
Lynyrd Skynyrd's Ronnie Van Zant wearing Neil Young "Tonight's The Night" T-shirt
Oakland Coliseum Stadium, July 2, 1977

Photographer: Michael Zagaris on Wolfgang's Vault


    "And out in California,
    a rock star from Canada writes a couple of great songs
    about the bad shit that went down

    "Southern Man" and "Alabama" certainly told some truth
    But there were a lot of good folks down here
    and Neil Young wasn't around

    Now Ronnie and Neil became good friends
    their feud was just in song
    Skynyrd was a bunch of Neil Young fans
    and Neil he loved that song

    So He wrote "Powderfinger" for Skynyrd to record
    But Ronnie ended up singing "Sweet Home Alabama" to the lord"

The "feud myth" between Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young has been fueled in recent years mainly due to the Drive-By Truckers' stunning 2002 album Southern Rock Opera song "Ronnie and Neil". This perceived rivalry between Ronnie Van Zant and Neil Young has a long and tortured history which we've covered for years now.

Last time we checked, most folks couldn't seem to make up their mind about whether Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young were friends or foes.

But since we stumbled across the super historic photo above (on Wolfgang's Vault) of Lynyrd Skynyrd's Ronnie Van Zant wearing a Neil Young "Tonight's The Night" T-shirt at the Oakland Coliseum Stadium on July 2, 1977, folks now seem to agree that Ronnie and Neil were in fact buddies.

And just how do we discern these vital trends? Mostly from our rigorously analytical and exclusive Shakey Electoral Polling System.

lynyrd-skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd in Muscle Shoals, Alabama


So why do I keep mashin' up? Mainly because a southern man does need him around anyhow. And Watergate did bother him very much. And he never loved the Governor, either.

As for the politics of it all?


"Oh Alabama
Your cadillac has got a wheel in the ditch
And a wheel on the track"




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105 Comments:

At 4/09/2006 08:42:00 PM, Anonymous Christian Harper said...

Ronnie was simply trying to remind people that there were still a lot of good people in Alabama. Neil was simply trying to remind people that there was still some bad shit going on in the South. I think the two respected each other's music and Neil was honored to be in Skynyrd's song. They were both smart enough not to take anything personally.

 
At 4/09/2006 08:56:00 PM, Anonymous Chris Sanders said...

I would say there was more of a mutual admiration between Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young then there was a close buddy buddy type of thing. Both Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young have a country sound to them, and wrote great sounding songs. I just think that Neil Young takes himself more seriously than Lynyrd Skynyrd does, and this would make it hard for some people to get the irony of their admiration for each other. I grew up in the south at the same time the guys from Lynyrd Skynyrd did, so it was easy for me to relate to the common sense lyrics the band would sing. I remember seeing them in concert in 1975. It is hard for people from the north to understand what a person from the south sees when he looks at the Confederate flag. A man from the south does not see racism, but he sees his family, friends, the pond he used to go fishing in as a boy, the corner he hung out on with his Bro�s when he was teenager, his first pick-up truck, or his first girl friend. Believe me, hating black people is not the first thing that comes to a southern mans mind when he sees the Confederate flag.

 
At 4/09/2006 09:59:00 PM, Anonymous lynn said...

I love the band lynrd skynryd,,they just knew how to write awesome lyrics and how to make u feel those lyrics..im from the south,,and one thing i need to say..northern people do not have the same sense of pride like a southern ..that includes the love and pride southern folks have for our confedrate flag..it is a shame that was taking down in some states because of the black card being played..i think it is a crime to take something as simple as a flag (which by the way was part of american history just like the us flag)it was a symbol of us winning freedom of our own ..and now of course we cant have it out in public because god forbid a african american gets offended..well im telling you alot of white people are getting offended by what is being done to us..but it is okay we are supose to take it..as long as the old melting pot is running over with illegal imagrants..protesting while they hold the flag of their choice..Mexico..and yet we are suppose to feed and clothed these people...and which we do graciously because we are southern folk..but come on people wake the fuck up america needs to be america..let them wave their flag on their own soil ..and lets us wave ours..i personally fly the texas rebel and american flag..helloo...we do have rights...though anymore it feels like the white race doesnt..and no i do not believe in the kkk.but anyways..lyrnyd skynyrd was one of the best..and i think the song made alot of southerns proud again and no one should take away from the fact that they had enough courage to put into a song something they founnd unjust and made people see more clearly ...but thanks to our forefathers we all have a right to freedom of speech...and thank god these boys were able to sing what they feltand what they new!!..ps..wish other people would realize this song is not about their home state.just what it is a response song to neil young..lol thanks for letting me unload all of this..on hoever is going to read this..btw..one more thing.i think next time all the hispanics start rioting and waving their mexican flag some southerns should get off their asses and wave right back the a true american flag the confedrate...which by the way in florida schools they are not allowed to wear or show anything with the confederate flag but hispanics can wear their flags and cubans can display theirs and haitians can theirs.thanks for ur time

lynn

 
At 4/09/2006 10:46:00 PM, Anonymous Jessi Candle said...

If not friends then at least they had a mutual respect for one another. Neil writes and plays what he feels in the moment, with out considering it until later. I am a big neil young fan and i still like lynyrd Skynyrd a great deal aswell. sweet home alabama is a great song. It would have been great to see Lynyrd skynyrd do powderfinger. There is no real "feud".
peace.
Jessi

 
At 4/09/2006 10:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

awesome shot of Ronnie. Long live skynyrd!

 
At 4/10/2006 04:35:00 AM, Anonymous Aaron said...

great site and great insight. but, when it comes to interpreting the background audio after the line "well i heard Mr. Young sing about her" i hear as clear as a bell, a "that son of a bitch" utterd and, that a would be more approiate disdain imo.infact i heard it when i was first turned on to LS when i was 16 or so and i had already been a huge NY fan at that time

A.S.P.
Aaron

 
At 4/10/2006 08:01:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neal Young is canadian. What does he know about the South???

 
At 4/10/2006 08:41:00 AM, Anonymous Paul M Shaffer said...

"Sweet Home Alabama" was a song to be enjoyed by the masses of people. Lyrics can be interpreted many different ways, good or bad. Just enjoy it for what it is, a good ole rock & roll tune!

Paul

 
At 4/10/2006 09:44:00 AM, Anonymous Lee said...

1) The song(Sweet Home Alabama)can be debated for all time. That makes it a great song.
2) Lynyrd Skynyrd and Crazy Horse (Neil does prefer to be considered with his band) are perfect compliments to each other and encountered, and wrote about, many of the same items of those times, politics, needles, etc.
3) I'm glad Ronnie and Neil connected and I'm sure they are too. They are (Ronnie in spirit) both quality, awesome individuals.
4) I love Ronnie like the little bro I've never had and in a crazy way am glad that he chose my 13th birthday to exit this world. I do miss his words terribly and wish him well on his new journey. Hoka Hey Ronnie.
Lee

 
At 4/10/2006 10:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Kid Rock said that Sweet Home Alabama was the best song ever at the Rock Hall of fame, I nearly barfed. What a crock.

But then I realized, SHA is probably the best song in Kid Rock;s mind. Probably like in the mind of many others...

 
At 4/10/2006 12:18:00 PM, Anonymous SouthernMan said...

My family has been in Texas since the early 1800's, yes, before Texas was annexed. I am a huge fan of both Neil Young and Lynyrd Skynyrd. I am also a huge fan of the song "Southern Man". Yes, it is stereotypical, but stereotypes come from truth. I hate to admit it, but many southerners, including myself, are racist. However, we have learned to not show it in public. Also, the Confederacy has nothing to do with slavery. If you think it does, you must have failed your U.S. History class. It was about state's rights. Lincoln didn't even think about abolishing slavery until the end of the Civil War(check out the dates of the Emancipation Proclamation). So any yankees that think a rebel flag means racism, wake up. I doesn't. I love both these artists, and I truly believe that they were friends. If there was any feud, it was a friendly one.

 
At 4/10/2006 04:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, can we agree on one thing?
Skynard wasn't racist. Never. As for the lyrics "In Birmingham they love the governor." Note "THEY", it's not "WE".

Y'all should hear Ballad of Curtis Loew, you'll realize that Skynard wasn't a bunch of racists but a kick-ass band.

 
At 4/11/2006 10:10:00 AM, Anonymous J.T. Jester said...

well you can't really argue that southern rock is racist. you can argue that lynyrd skynyrd is racist. but southern rock as a whole can not be considered racist. think about it. who was the second biggest southern rock band behind lynyrd skynyrd? the allman brothers. the allman brothers had 2 black members. little feet did also. billy gibbons of zz top said he never liked any white music at all until he heard the beatles. and about neil young. the dissing of southern man probably wasn't attacking anti-racism, but just a response to the lyrics of southern man, which, while the attack on racism was good, were extremely offensive to southerners, not just racists. it attacked the south pretty directly, and many southerners probably viewed it as an outsider (a canadian) talking about something they thought he didnt know about. and as for dissing neil young, skynyrd were still huge neil young fans, and neil young liked lynyrd skynyrd. i've heard neil young and ronnie van zant had talked about touring together before the crash, and legend has it that ronnie was buried in his neil young tshirt. and by the way yall, it's L-Y-N-Y-R-D S-K-Y-N-Y-R-D

J.T. Jester

 
At 4/11/2006 03:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

jeez, why do you guys always have to make everything so friggin' political???
It's just a song for christ's sake!

 
At 4/11/2006 04:48:00 PM, Anonymous E. Larson said...

Racist? I don't think so. Van Zant was just sticking up for the South and its FLAG for that matter. How would you feel if someone told you to give up your flag? Would you do it?It's a part of this country's history people. Also, do you think everyone from the North is perfect? You don't think the North has it's racists and extremists? Think again. Besides that, Van Zant, Neil Young, and all past and present members of Skynyrd are amazing musicians. Anyone with that much talent should be able to say and do whatever the hell they want.

 
At 4/11/2006 08:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A flag is a piece of fabric. If you want to really rise above your opressors who take away your flag, try not giving a shit about your flag, then they are taking nothing from you. Also, the confederate flag did not represent a boyhood fishing hole, and if it did, would you really want to upset a ton of people (who even if they were wrong, do have a justifiable opinion against the flag) just so you can remember your fishing spot?

 
At 4/12/2006 08:57:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I don’t listen to a lot of rock music, because most of it is stupid anyway. I was watching CMT the other night and watched a show on southern rock. I heard that boy Gary Rossington talking about Neil Young being an outsider and not knowing nothing about the south. Neil Young ain’t nothing but a faggotty peace-sign, save the ozone lovin hippie. The Lynyrd Skynyrd band ain’t nothing but a redneck country band who loves the south. I aint from the south cause I’m from Nebraska, but I am a redneck. I have been down south and all round the country. Most people I know who listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd listen to Toby Keith, Alan Jackson, Alabama, Faith Hill, etc. Them other people who listen to Neil Young listen to that crazy metal-satanic music like Marilyn Manson, Nirvana, and that fagotty 60s hippie music shit like Crosby, Stills, and Nash, the Byrds, Mamas and the Papas. Faggots! Most people can’t tell the difference between hippies and rednecks. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s music and lyrics are no different from other country music bands I hear today on CMT. If you think about it southern rock is really country music if you listen to the lyrics. Lynyrd Skynyrd is COUNTRY music all the way!!!

 
At 4/12/2006 11:18:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, post an article about Lynyrd Skynyrd and the trolls come in masses.

 
At 4/12/2006 06:32:00 PM, Anonymous AHMcHenry said...

I have no idea why anyone would think that Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" would be racist. If anyone would do their research before making a comment they would know that Ronnie and Neil were very good friends. Skynyrd was trying to be funny when the song "Sweet Home Alabama" was written. They were not trying to poke fun at Neil, at Alabama, or at any race. It is just a fun song. If you will watch "Freebird-The Movie" you will see a picture of Ronnie and Neil together and they also played at some festival or concert where Neil Young was there. This song has been taken and totally switched around from its actual meaning. If anyone done their research before making comments of Ronnie and Skynyrd you would know that none of the members are racist...they love ALL people and they wrote songs for the people! Their song "Give Me Back My Bullets" can easliy be mistaken however if you do your research you would know that they were talking about the "Bullets" that appeared next to songs on the song charts (Top 100 songs, Top 40 songs, etc.) Also, their song "Saturday Night Special" could be mistaken for a song that is supporting people killing people with guns but again if you do your research you would know that he is talking about Gun Control..."Hand guns are made for killin' Ain't no good for nothin' else And if you like your whiskey You might even shoot yourself So why don't we dump 'em people to the bottome of the sea Before some fool comes around here Wanna shoot either you or me...." So you see it is easy to mistake someones music for something that they totally do not mean. Skynyrd is know for the start of the Revolution of "Southern Rock" along with The Allman Brothers. Without Skynyrd or the Allman Brothers country music would not be where it is today. If you ask any Country Musician or any Rock n Roll Musician I bet you they will either list Skynyrd or the Allman Brothers as a group that they listened to when they were young and that they inspired them to become a musician. I dare any of you to go to a Skynyrd concert. When you get there take a good look around....and I bet you will see generations of people gathered around to support a group that has been around for Thirty Years, who have overcome the most tragic situtations that would tear an average mucisian apart. You will see a group that could still out preform any group, band, or artist....and I am talking about men who are not young chicks anymore. These men will go down as one of the greatest band EVER. Ronnie Van Zant died toooo soon, but the greatest people ALWAYS die young. People thought that the plane crash in Oct of 77 would be the end....and it was....it was the end of one chapter in their lives....and ten years later....it was the beginning of a new chapter when Johnnie came it and took his older brothers spot. After 30 Years Skynyrd is still preforming for "The People" which was Ronnie's dream. So, I urge you to do your research before you put Skynyrd down.
AHMcHenry

 
At 4/13/2006 09:24:00 AM, Anonymous mikey said...

Let Them Guitars Blast For Ronnie and Neil!

Bottom line is that all Rusties should listen to the Driveby Truckers because they are great and write songs like "Ronnie and Neil" which make us think about this kind of sh*t, love Neil, sound like the Horse and are one of the best bands around these days.

 
At 4/14/2006 07:29:00 AM, Blogger flanaganman said...

listen to skynyrds live album. during sweet home alabama ronnie says i want to thank mr young truly i do! this so called fued is someones fantasy!

 
At 4/14/2006 01:59:00 PM, Anonymous Jeff W. said...

I've followed NY for years. Not really LS though.

But isn't one of the LS members wearing that same NY (Tonight's The Night) shirt under a coat on the cover of Street Survivors? I remember seeing this on the album years back.

If Street Survivors was released in 1977, this disdain for one another could not have been that deeply rooted.

 
At 4/15/2006 02:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can say is that my three children and I love Lynyrd Skynyrd
we think they rock and hope to see them soon.We love you and hope you keep on rocking.Jackie in Ohio

 
At 4/15/2006 04:05:00 PM, Anonymous Jake Daniels said...

I remember reading somewhere, maybe in the few Neil biographies I have, that he originally wrote "Powderfinger" for Skynyrd to record but the members died in the plane crash before they got a chance to record it. Can anyone confirm this or possibly give me a source of this?

 
At 4/17/2006 11:40:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watergate does not bother me, either. I voted Libertarian that year.

 
At 4/20/2006 10:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skynyrd is as American as you can get. Their music will be listened to 100 yrs from now. I'm 51 and have 4 boys that range from 13 to 31 and I can tell you I had nothing to do with it but they discovered LS and can't get enough of them. They are right "southern man don't need him around".

 
At 4/20/2006 10:52:00 AM, Blogger Mannie Jo said...

I guess my main comment about Sweet Home Alabama is the line, "A Southern Man don't need him around, anyhow". I think this pretty accurately represents the attitude a lot of Southerners have towards outsiders - the reason the Confederate Battle Flag is so important to many isn't the race angle. I think it's the reminder of a time when Southerners were stomped upon. And the Reconstruction was little more than that. Whether Southern policies are right or wrong, anytime you try to force us to do something, we go stubborn. With the shift Southward of aging, retired "Yankees", some of us feel as if the South is being invaded, and the old attitude of "leave us be" is still felt. As many bumper stickers in my neck of the woods say, "We don't care how you did things up North" and "If the North is so great, why don't you go back". This is the attitude that was echoed in "Sweet Home Alabama".

 
At 4/24/2006 12:50:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's just good old fashioned Rock-N-Roll back and forth fun IMO. Nothing to lose sleep over ;)

 
At 5/26/2006 10:34:00 AM, Blogger drummaster2001 said...

thanks for clearing up this feud myth.

as for the myth of Ronnie Van Zant being buried in a Neil Young t-shirt- Ronnie's wife has said that she buried him in a flannel shirt and jeans.

Skynyrd is southern rock all the way, not country. they were also not racist either. "Free Bird" is one of the greatest rock songs ever.

 
At 5/30/2006 11:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They both suck donkey dicks.

 
At 5/31/2006 06:29:00 PM, Blogger kilbey x said...

Southern People has this "pride" shit masked as aggression and angst that they wish us "outsiders" would just fuck off and just blow away.

Remember you all gots the best "educational" system in the country...let alone the world!!!!

I mean its ranked the worst with only one count em one college (UT Knoxville) ranking in the top 50 in the whole dame NESW sectors!!!!


And dig...where did Mr. Young at all "reference" any ONE particular NAME including THOU-ART-BLESSED RONNIE V anywhere at'll in "Southern Man!!!???"

Nope...the Van Z quirks of quark strangeness and charm is de ones who abet take thyselves overtly serious!!! OOOPPPSSS-he's mental

A lot of ya'll's still live as if LESTER MADDOX ROSS BARNETT BULL O'CONNOR AND THE SHITFACED DITIZEN'S COUNCIL NEVER UP AND DIED!!!

...WHAT'S THAT ON YOU SHOULDER...ITS YOUR HEAD...IS THAT THE ROOT OF ALL YOUR PROBLEMS...WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU...ITS NONE OF YOUR DEVIL DAMNING BUSINESS.....

 
At 6/04/2006 11:47:00 AM, Anonymous Mark Johnson said...

This controversey reminds me a little of the controversey that went on between Jackson Browne and CSN&Y concerning the songs "Wooden Ships" and "Every Man". I don't think any artist will ever compromise his/her work by trying to explain it. Each person who hears it comes away with their own interpretation. That is the appeal of art. Any one who believes they have the ultimate answer, speak only for themselves. Do you hear the artists saying anything other than what they put in their songs.

 
At 6/15/2006 01:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And facts are the enemy of truth, as many have observed of the famous quote by Don Quixote."

No, it was by Miguel de Cervantes. You can't attribute a quotation to a fictional character!

anyway nice article, thanks.

 
At 6/17/2006 12:47:00 PM, Anonymous TIA said...

Hi You all Neil Fan, and when I lived in fla 15 years ago I think is when the plane went down and Everybody was into the Song Freebird, I dont think only the Southerner helped but Northner as you guys call us Yankee. But we dont make a big Hoopla's about it. Neil was just trying to make positve point about Racism, and who like racist, bigot!! I rather stand by Neil Young who sing about the reality of life. He always gave positive influence. When he sees something Neil see's something he is not happy about,, Well, he can take a piece of paper and sing about what is going on about the Bigotry & hatred!! I mean there are bad in all of us. shall we hunt down Germans after what they did in Nazi War Camp. Also there are alot of white trash that are not angelic, me being Japanese, I was Living in Tampa and I was spit upon because of the vietnam war. Sorry I was not in the war, they still cannot admitt that they lost. Just close the door on Racist pigs and do Neil Young do....SING ABOUT!! I DO, IN THE SHOWER. I LOVE U NEIL, YOU HAVE A HEART OF GOLD. Tia

 
At 7/05/2006 02:03:00 PM, Anonymous b.t. said...

Whoever wrote this dissertation started out with a pre-supposition that is completely wrong. The line "in Birmingham they love the Governor" was written tounge in cheek. Governor Wallace hadn't carried many areas in the Birmingham area in several election cycles up to his last service. Additionally, by that time he was getting the vast majority of the black vote in Alabama. In response to the lackluster political support, he was in a long fued with Birmingham that culminated in his blocking the completion of interstate 65 (stopping both North and South of Birmingham for years) Birmingham didn't like the Governor and they moaned about it all the time. The words "boo, hoo, hoo" or "boo, boo, boo." (depending on the recording you hear) refer to the crybabies in Birmingham.

Lynrd Skynrd knew that Birmingham hated the Governor. It was humor. Someone needs to quit taking themselves so seriously.

 
At 7/20/2006 06:49:00 PM, Blogger Elric said...

I know that Neil Young and Lynyrd Skynyrd were planning to record some song together but then happened the palne crash and the recording never happend...

anyone has info about these songs ?

 
At 8/18/2006 11:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to me ronnie vanzant is the only man in the world that can sing all the other only think they can the fact is you people will never hear any other person alive even come close to ronnie that the way its going to be like it or not i love ronnie's voice so let him rest .from a fan in kentucky

 
At 9/17/2006 10:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised no one has commented on the Miami show Neil Young did in Nov. of 1977, where he dedicated a song to "a couple of friends in the sky", and then played Alabama, blending it into Sweet Home Alabama. -- Dan

 
At 9/28/2006 03:26:00 PM, Anonymous jared said...

i don't want to talk to much of this, but quickly in support of the basis of their political opinion: i feel pretty strongly that the american south has served as a convenient scapegoat for all of american racism, and that focus is taken away from the very serious economic/race clashes that happen in america's urban centers. the buses in boston, the riots in watts, detroit, philadelphia. americans in general are uncomfortable with accepting how tense race relations really are, that it became quite easy to point at a place that was institutionally less progressive (as the south unarguably was) and make the non-sequitur connection that it was the source of all racial tension. that being said, while i think neil young's lyric in 'alabama' sounds particularly ignorant, i don't think he was using it as a scapegoat but rather trying to focus on specific events occuring at the time, ultimately to motivate and mobilize an audience."

neil young is just another overly sensitive idiot hippy that im gonna guess was never discriminated against,and wasnt alive in the 1800's,so he shoulda kept his mouth shut.How could a state with such a high black population be considered racsist.Any black person alive in these modern times(get over the past) hasnt been discriminated against,and needs to shut the hell up.Race relations wont get any better until BOTH sides gets over it
hell yeah

 
At 9/28/2006 03:59:00 PM, Anonymous Michael A. Clem said...

The simple truth is that it's rather difficult to be specific with song lyrics, and all the more so if you're trying to be sarcastic, ironic, or some other form of humor. Also, listeners tend to bring their own views to songs--if they like the song, they'll try to justify the lyrics to be in line with their views. Thus, I think it tends to be to the songwriter's advantage to allow some ambiguity or vagueness creep in.

 
At 9/28/2006 03:59:00 PM, Anonymous Ken said...

You-All Need to QUIT! The only person that can tell you what these lyrics mean is Neil Young! I'm sure that in his time he will do this! Let the man create and ......let us all simply enjoy his creations! I have been a "listener" since the Buffalo Springfield days..........he simply does what he does....don't try to analyze it....just enjoy the ride! Trying to figure out or interprete his lyrics is like trying to figure out why Cadillac uses leather or Ferrari paints their cars red! Later...and sorry to be a pain

 
At 9/28/2006 04:02:00 PM, Anonymous jamie said...

needless of the lyrics, its a good song. it gives pride to the alabamians, which i am a proud one. NO i dont believe in racism, but i also dont belive the song to be racist, but when you have some one saying crap about you, EVEN if the boys werent from alabama, you have to defend yourself, no matter what....is my belief.... besides, sweet home georgia doesnt sound too good.

 
At 9/28/2006 04:17:00 PM, Anonymous Dave said...

Fuck all the dumb assholes who have a percieved image of lynyrd skynyrd as being racist or country. If you are any kind of musician you would realize skynyrd was very much rock. And ive done more research in to Van Zant than anybody becuase i know his wife. The song was a joke and a stab at idiotic dumbshits like the guy who said sweet home was racist and unappriote. Ronnie loved neal young u idiot and loved this country. I know becuase had the pleasure to talk to him many times.

 
At 10/02/2006 02:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo Dave, I am a black man who loves playing the guitar and let me say Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote some of the best music ever. Also non of these cats were liked by southern rednecks untill the 80's. Hell the drummer was shot after the plane crash by a guy who thought a long hair was trying to rob him. Please everyong, remember "Easy Ryder" southern bigots did not like long hairs and bikers. Also, if the stories are correct Ronnie used to fight rednecks on a regular basis. Dude loved to brawl!!!!!!

 
At 10/30/2006 06:32:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sick of northerners mouthin off about us, when they themselves, have proven they can hardly type. I've been havin my way with ya'll's northern debutantes, as long as I can remember. There's no fued, it's a joke. That's what guys Ronnie do, drink, smoke and joke. Sweet Home Alabama was recorded on Skynyrd's second album, Second Helpin. It's to thank the Muscle Shoals Swamper who let Skynyrd record a demo tape there in Muscle Shoals. Hence Ronnie's usually wearing a Muscle Shoals t-shirt

 
At 11/11/2006 11:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HIDDEN SKYNYRD SONG "My Power" backmasked into "Sweet home Alabama"!!! http://mypower.ytmnd.com/

Have to hear it to believe it!!!

 
At 11/21/2006 01:07:00 PM, Anonymous Neil Young's Dad (no joke) said...

Re: Sweet Home Alabama

Silly Rabbits,

Lynard Skynrd was simply saying "clean-up your own back yard, and get that wig hat off your own ugly head". Then you can tell the wonderful Southland what to do. Lead by example, stronger than words. The South is such a simple and at the same time complex place. That's why so many talented and introspective folks are from here.

I was listening to After the Gold Rush on the way in this morning, wondered what other folks thought of Neil's writings. The entire album is about leaving. Nothing left to stay for...the Gold Rush is over.

 
At 11/22/2006 11:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not withstanding, the fact that the band often performed with a Confederate flag as a backdrop, the label and perception has been hard to shake.

"Notwithstanding" is not a synonym of "inasmuch as".

 
At 12/03/2006 07:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just have one thing to say and it's that I grew up in Gillsburg, Ms and my grandfather was there right after the plane went down that killed Ronnie of course he didnt know it was Lynyrd Skynryd at the time, and I have been to the site

 
At 12/13/2006 05:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that Neil Young pre-judged a whole group of people and Skynard called him out. I think Neil saw the error of his ways and he and Ronnie became friends. I grew up in South Mississippi in the early Seventies and loved Neil Young and Lynyrd Skynrd. I saw Neil Young play Powderfinger at the 1982 World's Fair in an open air ampitheater set on the banks of the Mississippi River. After turning around to face the river Neil started jamming to the Riverboat "Delta Queen" with it's passengers pouring over the balcony and decks to get a look and listen. It was a magical moment. After he finished, the crowd showed their approval and then Neil said "I thought you didn't like me down here?" The crowd went nuts! I guess the moral to my story is that prejudice is never good even if you're not from the South. Long live Dixie!

 
At 12/13/2006 10:24:00 PM, Anonymous Jasmine said...

I totally disagree with a fellow "Alabamian"'s comment that a majority of white southerners are racist in this day in age. i do not view the confederate flag as asymbol of racism, simply as a symbol of the south... i just so happen to be the product of an interracial marriage; my parents were from Athens, AL and werent threatened, killed, bombed, etc. Actually, they were accepted. People who say all white southerners are racist need to be more open minded themselves.

 
At 12/18/2006 05:06:00 PM, Anonymous THe Old Folkster said...

I'm not an Alabaman or a Canadian, but knowing that Van Zandt was fiercely proud of his southern roots would guess he was just telling Neil to "shut the hell up."

TO me, the reference about Watergate was neither an endorsement or a condemnation of the event, but rather telling people to focus on their own lives -as opposed to following the leads of political pundits on both sides of the aisle -advice that is STILL applicable in today's overly politicized culture.

 
At 1/05/2007 12:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoy the song "Sweet Home Alabama". At least I used to. I am from Alabama. I'm not choosing sides here though. I think they both made good points. LS was singing about the good things about the south and Neil Young liked to sing about the bad things. So what? Everything has a good side and a bad side. The city has it's good side and it's bad side. Maybe LS should have written a song about the bad side of living in the city to shut Neil up.
I really don't care for the song anymore because since I've moved to DC the clubs here ruined it for me. The DJ's here will usually play it towards the end of the night and everyone goes crazy! Especially the girls. The'll get up on the bar and dance half naked say "This is my song! It's my favorite. It's about me! I'm totally country..blah...blah...blah"
And I know that 90% of those girls have never even been past the beaches on South Carolina when their parents take them on expensive vacations. They just like complete idiots.
So when clubs play that song, it's my cue to go to the next bar to avoid the bimbo stripper show.
It's okay to like the song but don't act like you have a connection with the song unless you've actually been to Alabama. As for the bimbos out there, you should at least now the state capital or be able to point it out on a map before you throw your panties at the DJ for playing it.....

 
At 1/18/2007 08:33:00 PM, Anonymous Terry David said...

I would just like the truth to be known regarding the alledged animosity between Neil Young and Ronnie Van Zant. Nothing could be further from the truth! They were friends, loved each other's music, and they and their bands wore each other's T-shirts. Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd wore Neil Young's "Tonight's the Night" T-shirt and Billy Talbot of Crazy Horse wore Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Jack Daniels Logo" T-shirt. All you can say is that both bands are very passionate about their songs and neither band cares about being politically correct. Also let's not forget that Neil originally wrote " Powderfinger" for Lynyrd Skynyrd to perform. Talk about friendship. I love both men's music especially Neil Young's. He is simply The Greatest singer-songwriter, guitarist, and musician the world has ever seen! As was once said before I'll say again, "Neil Young is The King Of Rock and Roll". It's such a shame that Jacksonville, where I live and Skynyrd's hometown, refuses to play a single Neil Young song. I've tried for years to get any of the local Rock stations to, but to no avail. Talk about ignorant rednecks. I totally understand why Neil Young doesn't play here, too many that are either ignorant or redneck. I guess I'm just a Rebel with a Cause.

 
At 2/26/2007 10:52:00 PM, Anonymous Ed from Florida said...

You really can't understand why this band is such a big deal unless you were a teenager then... I'm Florida born and nothing was bigger to us than Skynyrd. We were the "new south"; unbigoted, long-haired,high, and ready to rock. The songs were real life stuff. When Ronnie mentioned Wallace, everybody joined in the "boo,boo,boo" because the man stood for segregation. Of course Wallace embraced the song since it was boasting about the state... he's a politician after all. Watergate didn't "bother me" either because that administration didn't represent us and it was something you actually EXPECTED from the crooks in Washington. I don't understand where folks get a 'redneck' message from SHA. Back in the day it was our anthem and it was just a collective "hey! we're here, we're alright, it's okay to be southern!" You want redneck lyrics then listen to "Mississippi Kid". When that plane went down, a lot of the kids in my highschool wore black armbands made from ripped up t-shirts for a couple days... they'd just played Lakeland, FL two days before and lots of us had seen the beginning of the new tour and the Street Survivors record was #1. They were the last bastion of honest, accessable music (to us) in the overblown 'classic rock' and disco era. It was just unbelieveable that they were gone. It was heartbreaking! Elvis died a few months before and his passing was a blip compared to the loss of the Skynyrd band to my generation. I love Neil Young- the whole feud thing is ridiculous. Can't hardly stand to hear the damn song now! It's the most overplayed tune with the possible exception of "Proud Mary". Give this whole thing a break... listen to their other songs that have content that actually matters! Start with "Cry For The Badman". Chris Sander's blog says it best for me... Ed from Florida

 
At 4/20/2007 11:03:00 AM, Anonymous Benjamin John said...

I always had the feeling that Skynyrd's line "We all did what we could do. Now Watergate does not bother me. Does your conscience bother you?" was meant as an "up yours" (sorry, but it fits) to those who blindly followed Nixon and the Far Right, whereas Ronnie (and those like him) saw what was coming, tried to warn people and was rebuffed by Nixon's re-election. He's absolving himself of Watergate-like tactics and asking Nixon backers if they felt responsible. As for the Rebel flag, it's sometimes difficult to understand what it means to Southern culture on many levels. It's a symbol of defiance, yes, and a symbol of place. No different from the green, black and red flags adopted by members of the African American community to show their pride. This is not a blanket statement. I'm white and Southern, I and abhor public display of the flag as I long ago became tired of being Southern and therefore the brunt of jokes as being toothless, bath less and brainless. Tom Petty, a Floridian, used the battle flag as his stage prop for many years; Petty's songs leaned heavily to overcoming social and political wrongs. It's always struck me as strange that Southern Man is the song that set off this discussion. Alabama is a much more potent song, IMO, containing strong, straightforward imagery that has little room for misinterpretation.

 
At 5/09/2007 10:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

IM a northern from buffalo ny and every 4th of july the stars and bars and the stars and stripes fly from the flag pole.the confederate flag is a symbol of all the brave men who died in the civil war.At gettysburg pa the rebel flag is seen all over town.people who see racism dont know much about this countrys history.Let there always be LYNYRD SKYNYRD and the IRISH BRIGADE.

 
At 5/25/2007 02:20:00 PM, Anonymous Sean R. Corbin said...

Why is everything either liberal or conservative? It seems like everything we discuss now is only discussed on those terms, on the idea of where does it or they fall in the political spectrum. These songs could easily be viewed as North or South, but this article attahces on to the modern argument of conservative vs. liberal.
I know I'm not saying much other than "What the hell?" but I think I am one of the few out there that notices and objects to this.

I dig the legend that Ronnie was buried in Neil's shirt - it's just a fun urban legend that I like to believe.

 
At 6/13/2007 10:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

good question Sean....I think the answer, at least regarding this web author is that he's an arrogant condecending blowhard who thinks he's doing the world some big favor by peddling his theories on Neil Young and Lynyrd Skynyrd or his OWN stereotypes and prejudices when it comes to politics.

 
At 7/20/2007 05:59:00 PM, Blogger Diego Arturo said...

For a guy like me -who lives in Argentina-, Ny and LS just sounds great. Being lyrics conected in other space and time just makes their songs eternal and part of history -human history, not just music history-

 
At 7/21/2007 02:26:00 PM, Anonymous D. Adkison said...

I think it is laughable, that a couple of stanzas in one song about how a Southern Man shouldn't be painted as responsible for all the racist things that happend in the South gets a band labeled as racist.

(The detailed "analysis" of 'Sweet Home Alabama' on this site is still rather biased against LS.)

To my mind this country needs to start defining pejorative terms very carefully -- and use them with great restraint. Everyone of us has stray thoughts characterizing a group of people. Racists say them aloud intentionally and they say them with the clear idea that one group is better than another.

Lynard Skynard has never done this. They are not racist.

 
At 8/09/2007 06:00:00 PM, Blogger ANONOMOUS said...

Well first of all, I would like to say, its a damn shame, that people are so ignorant!..I guess you could find something racist with just about everything...if you are a racist. And truth be known, the people that have the problems are the ones that are racist. And its these people that will never let racism die, because thats just one more thing the can sit on their ass and feel sorry for themselves about. My thoughts would be GET OVER IT!!! Its a great song, and to me, thats really all the discussion.

 
At 8/09/2007 06:03:00 PM, Blogger ANONOMOUS said...

Just ask Jesse Jackson!!!!
It pays to good to let die!!!!

 
At 8/15/2007 06:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Alabama, and "Sweet Home Alabama," as a reference to my home. However, I don't long for the days of George Wallace, don't have a problem with Neil Young's politics, and I don't think this is that big a deal.

Yes, there are some rednecks who think "SHA" is endorsing their views, but I don't care what they think.

I'm a liberal, Jewish Alabamian, and I can appreciate the good aspects of Alabama and hope to see the bad ones die out.

 
At 8/16/2007 05:17:00 PM, Blogger ryan koluch said...

lynyrd skynyrd and neil young can be considered one in the same as they were both performers with a deep heart and soul. their honesty integrity and passion came across in their work as well as their social conscience and love for the world in which they lived. Their lives and body of work are more than enough to show the type of people they were and the respect they have not only for eachother but all types of people who work hard and stay true.

 
At 9/07/2007 01:44:00 AM, Blogger Mark said...

"Sweet Home Alabama" was not a racist song, and LS was not a racist band. You can comb your way through the lyrics of every skynyrd song that touches on politics, and the overwhelming bent is liberal and not conservative. What other band had a top hit single arguing for gun control as they did in "Saturday Night Special?" Think about it: GUN CONTROL. Is that on Toby Keith's iPod? In the song "Thing's Goin' On" Ronnie disparage the moon program as a waste of money that would be better used to help poor people. "Watergate does not bother me" could just as easily mean "I voted for McGovern" as well as "some people voted for Wallace." Ronnie is not just wearing a Neil t-shirt in that concert photo; he wears it on Skynyrd's last album cover. The two bands definitely admired each other, and that's all there is to it.

 
At 9/21/2007 09:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You missed the point about the watergate line..."now watergate doesn't bother me," is followed by "does your conscience bother you? Tell the truth."
That's a big difference there...he's not being indifferent, he's being sarcastic....he's defending the honesty and honor of the south verses the tricky lying politicians of the north, like "tricky dick."
So that line backs up the point, even more, that Skynard weren't southern/right wing racists, they were, in fact, Jimmy Carter supporting good ole boys...would Uncle Jesse (from the Dukes) support a Republican, think about it...they even played for the Jimmy Carter campaign and supported their President very much.

 
At 10/28/2007 05:10:00 AM, Blogger Marcos Alberto de Oliveira said...

yes, Lynyrd Skynyrd is conservative, but no racist.The first don´t mean necessarily the second, but barely defend values (God, family, goodness, friendship, piety, morality )
without whom the social and civil life is corrupting. My favorite song, however, is "Simple Man", that express much better the attitude from band.

 
At 11/13/2007 08:26:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"SWEET HOME ALABAMA" IS THE BEST SOUTHERN ROCK SONG EVER MADE.

 
At 11/13/2007 08:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ALL OF YOU THAT ARE HATEN ON Lynyrd Skynyrd CAN KISS MY WHITE ASS!!!!!!!

 
At 11/22/2007 10:45:00 AM, Anonymous SoComm said...

Neil Young is/was/and forever will be an IDIOT

 
At 11/26/2007 12:14:00 AM, Blogger jackson5781 said...

I have a DVD on Skynnyrd, that Ronnie Van Zant speaks about that song and says that he knew by writting that song that he would catch alot of heat in the public. And mentions that Neil Young is one of the bands favorite people. It even show on the DVD Ronnie and Neil shaking hands and smiling, there was definitely no friction between these two guys. Ronnie even says it was something that helped america.

 
At 12/06/2007 02:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry am i missing something here, the overwhelming evidence is that Ronnie van Zant and Neil Young never had anything but complete respect for each other, so why is there anyone slagging off one or the other for political reasons that really don't even exist. Southern Man and Sweeet Home Alabama are both brilliant songs, written by brilliant musicians. Can't we just leave it at that?!
R.I.P. Ronnie
Long Live Neil!

 
At 12/16/2007 06:16:00 AM, Anonymous DrPhil said...

Life is like a box a choclits........get over it and enjoy the box...........

 
At 12/27/2007 03:37:00 PM, Anonymous poboy said...

Listen to the music, Man.


Neil:

Comes a time
when you're driftin'
Comes a time
when you settle down
Comes a light
feelin's liftin'
Lift that baby
right up off the ground.

Oh, this old world
keeps spinning round
It's a wonder tall trees
ain't layin' down
There comes a time.

You and I we were captured
We took our souls
and we flew away
We were right
we were giving
That's how we kept
what we gave away.

Ronnie:

If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be travelling 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.
Lord knows, I can't change.

Enough, said...

 
At 4/21/2008 09:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sweet Home Alabama ain't a racist song, and neither was LYNYRD SKYNYRD!!!!!!! of course, Free Bird is the best song. also, there ain't nothin wrong with the Confederate flag! if you look up history, alot of northerners, even Sherman himself believed that blacks should serve whites, which is retarded. and no i don't feel guilty as a white southerner either. most people felt that the gov't was invading their land. and yet they want to make us take down our confederate flag, but yet mexican's and other people can fly their flag with pride. shame. shame. if you don't like our southern heritage, then leave our south! that applies to any and all races.

 
At 4/22/2008 05:09:00 PM, Anonymous Skadi meic Beorh said...

To the person writing the article on Neil and Skynyrd:

Thank you. Your view coincides with broad perspective and detailed examination of evidence. If only the world had more writers like you, we wouldn't need songs like "Southern Man."

We all know Neil's socio-political position by listening to his numerous lyrics. But a little about Ronnie for those who may not know: take a close listen to his lyrics as well. He's not just another Southern boy, y'all. He is first and foremost a social activist--something Hatchet and Marshall Tucker and Blackfoot and even the Outlaws with their often sweet lyrics never accomplished. Skynyrd was a true Civil Rights band, and when we lost them, we lost a great, great treasure.

 
At 4/27/2008 08:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the most pointless blog I have ever read, it is so obvious to anyone with half a brain that Skynyrd and Neil had nothing but mutual admiration towards eachother. Oh, and by the way Ronnie WAS buried in a Neil Young t-shirt with his fishing pole and favorite hat by his side. MUSIC DIED OCTOBER 20th 1977!

 
At 4/29/2008 01:12:00 PM, Blogger Ronald D. said...

Being a retired Marine, I have traveled this entire planet many times and have seen people at their best and worst.
Being a black man from the South I have rather interesting perspective on this subject. First I don't think that Lynard Skynard is any more a racist band than Bill Clinton is a preacher.
While the Southern United states has had its share of bad apples and a lot of ugly stuff went down in the south back in the day, none of these people pointing fingers at Sweet Home Alabama seem to publicly talk about people like like Richard Butler. They seem to forget about places like the Pacific north west. They are however quick to point the finger at the south. Contemporary artists don't write songs about the northern California towns that play home to groups like the Natzi low riders. They don't write songs about Idaho being the headquarters of the Aryan nation. While the South isn't perfect yet, I for one commend Lynard Skynard for having the balls to tell the rest of the country not to through cards in a glass house.

 
At 7/07/2008 11:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The significant line in the tune is "in Alabam' THEY (not LS)love the governor [Wallace], well we all did ONE WEEK OR TWO." Meaning don't paint the whole region because of a few, and all of us get fooled some of the time. Just like 85% of Congress and the country believed Bush for a week or two.
And furthermore, what wd the NRA think about "Saturday Night Special," Rush Limbo think about Ronnie Van Zant's anti-sprawl song that is very similar to Chrissie Hynde's "And the City was Gone?"

 
At 7/11/2008 04:33:00 PM, Anonymous Mike, Gulf Shores, AL said...

I am a musician, and a Skynyrd fanatic. Over the years I have worked with or around most of the guys in the band, (after the crash). Allen Collins was a personal friend of mine, and taught me a heap of what I know on guitar. I really miss him. When I read some of the comments here I had to giggle. Opinions are like eyes, everyone has them. The facts are as follows: Ed King compossed ALL the music for this song, ( the band members even complained that the lead guitar part was in the wrong key). Why is beyond me. It seems to fit. Major and relative minors and all that, I guess. Ronnie wrote the lyrics as a satire while on the road from Muscle Shoals to his home in Jacksonville Fl. The reference to Neil Yong's "Southern Man" was a stick in the ribs, but it was done in fun. Allen said they laughed about it for years afterward. Although they never met, there was a mutual respect between these artists. I cannot comment on any of Young's songs or his reasons for them, but I do know that Ronnie liked his songs and respected his talents as a writter/performer. His reference to the Governor was "Boo, Boo, Boo". How can anyone relate that to promoting Wallace's actions or beliefs? Ronnie hated the stigma the Alabama Governor had created and intended for this song to relate that to the listener. Along with all the other excesses of the Americian Government. "Watergate does not bother me,"(because he didn't cause it or create it), "does YOUR conscience bother YOU?" He wants you to think about your personal feelings about your own actions, not those of someone you have no control over. The "Swampers" was, and still is a fantastic group of studio musicians deriving from the R&B days at "Fame" in the 60's. I know most of them. Great bunch of guys. The last recorded words of the song are hard to make out but Ronnie actually says, "Aw, Montgomery's got the answer". Even I didn't know that until I heard Leon tell it to a reporter in a radio interview sometime in 1998. The myth of the T'shirt is just that. A myth. Although I was not at the funeral I understand that he was burried in a suit, no tie. With his hat in his hands. And yes, I do know where he is currently burried. So it's not a secret. I went there with Judy, (his wife), Allen and Gary a few times back in the day. Just as an aside, not everyone in Alabama are rednecks but those of us that are, are very proud of it and do not really care what anyone else thinks about it. But just so you know, redneck doesn't mean stupid, ignorant or racist. It means that we have a heritige of hard work, family and GOD. Lynyrd Skynyrd was and is for the working man, the little guy. The backbone of this country. Please stop trying to make something out of nothing. I hope this clears up the confusion. Thanks for taking the time to read it. Sincerely, Mike, from Gulf Shores, Al.

 
At 8/06/2008 11:39:00 AM, Anonymous sfwaddell said...

It has been easy for the rest of America to blame all the racism on Alabama and the South. Of course there has been racism there but the problem is it has been everywhere else as well. It's not the South who denies their past but the North who denies it's racism and racial past. New England and the North shipped around 600,000 African into slavery after we became a nation under the American flag. Read Hugh Thomas the Atlantic Slave Trade. They kept every dollar. 300,000 WERE shipped mainly into South Carlina who was still buying them and another 300,000 shipped to Brazil and Cuba. If you figure that they were bought from African tribes with Rum, Molassis, faulty firearms and trinkets and sold in the west, after the mid passage, where all the sick were dumped into the ocean for shark bate, for anywhere from $1000 to $2000 a piece then you can see where the Yankee's got most of their money to start their industries besides making the South pay 85% of all federal tax before the Civil war. Then we have the genocide of the Native Americans on the planes. Ofcourse the South had the trail of tears as well. But just look at the conditions that most Native Americans live in today as well and remember that there were at one time 20 to 30 million but now only afew million. Then Dr. King said that the worst march of the Civil Rights movement was in Chicago. They were treated the worst up north acording to him. Ofcourse Alabama had it's evil KKK and there still are some around but they are in the North more today alive and well. I think Skynard isn't excusing the racism but it is calling attention to the hypocracy of our nation and also to all the nice warm regular people in Alabama who weren't racists. Every one usually who goes South to live and stays ends up loving the most of the people. Even many Africa Americans say the same. We need to admit to all the racism of our nations past and not just scapegoat Alabama and the south. It was a group of people and not all. The segregation laws were also in the North as well infact the ones in the South were taken from the Northern vagrancy laws dealing with the African people in the North. We need to be honest and quit pretending that racism is just Southern or in Alabama. I believe that is what Skynard is saying really. And really many in the North have always demonized the South to cover their own evil!

Sam Waddell

 
At 8/09/2008 06:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We in the North, South, East and West should work together as friends and start bringing Social Justice in our own regions working together peacefully. Criticism and looking down on others really only adds to our nations problems. Just as JESUS said we have to get the log out of our own eyes first then we can gently help the other to do the same. If we all work in our own regions for change wheather it be to help African Americans or the Native peoples in USA and Canada or the poor where ever and who ever then we will be doing good and it will take our life time and many others to bring change. So let's try to do this. Any way that is my feeling and I have lived in the North, South and the West in the USA. And enjoy Skynard while doing it Sweet Home Alabama and all!!

Sam Waddell

 
At 11/30/2008 08:34:00 PM, Blogger William said...

Like Ronnie said the song was written as a "joke" the words just came out. So WHY don't they just have enough sense to just let it go. It's just a shame that Ronnie isn't still here to continue writing some of the best songs ever!!!!!!

 
At 12/11/2008 10:29:00 PM, Anonymous Cassie said...

This essay and the one it references are, I believe, off base on some points:

The Thrasher site essay says:

Furthermore, Leonard Skynyrd sang "Now Watergate does not bother me". Sadly, it would seem not only were Lynard Skynard untroubled by racism but were not terribly concerned by corruption at the highest levels of the U.S. government"



I take it that Skynard lyrics are saying to Northern Critics of the South, en masse... "I'll feel guilty when you start feeling guilty about Watergate". Leonard Skynard members *were* vocal about Civil Rights, and supported Jimmy Carter! One can still have pride in their Southern culture... and it comes down to this "We all did what we could do... Watergate does not bother me. Does Your Conscience Bother YOU?"



I heard a YouTube version of the song performed by Skynard that replaced "Montgomery's got the answer" to "Carter's got the answer" - lest there be doubt.



I do think that w/ regards to the South there is alot of ambiguity and contradiction. Having said the above, I do not think this was a song endorsing racism, but the opposite, and reacting to alot of stereotyping that goes on of the South. Personally, I think the Red/Blue divisions indicate politics/culture/race have some challenges yet in 2008.

 
At 12/26/2008 08:31:00 AM, Blogger leegee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 12/26/2008 08:40:00 AM, Blogger leegee said...

Interesting article but not sure about the conclusions re. SWA.

First off - as they say at the start, TURN IT UP and play it loud! This us rock'n'roll, not Kant.

As someone above said, "In Birmingham THEY love the Govoner" - not WE. Note also the Montgommery lyric.

"Boo boo boo!" or "Blue blue blue!"

How about this live version on The Old Grey Whilstle Test? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwWUOmk7wO0 Not terribly important, but still.

And put it in context: "Now we all did what we could do / Now Watergate does not bother me
/ Does your conscience bother you? / Tell the truth"

Ambigious - yeah. Clever - damn right. A classic? We're still talking about it 40-odd years on, so I reckon so.

Hell, what a rock record!

 
At 12/28/2008 10:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They may be a bunch of right-wing rednecks, but they sure do know how to rock out. Long live the Lynyrd Skynyrd band.
Drew in Topeka

 
At 2/03/2009 01:47:00 PM, Anonymous fowler said...

"Y'all should hear Ballad of Curtis Loew, you'll realize that Skynard wasn't a bunch of racists but a kick-ass band."

That's funny, I love Skynyrd, and the Ballad of Curtis Lowe, but I've always considered Curtis Lowe to have some racism in it.

Let's put it this way, if I were black I wouldn't find the song flattering.

I've got nothing to comment on Ronnie and Neil's relationship, although, I'll add that Southern Rock Opera is one of the finest albums of the last decade and a must listen to fans of either of these musicians.

 
At 2/09/2009 12:08:00 AM, Anonymous Everyonesacritic said...

Great article Thrasher, and you answered the question I had after hearing the reference to Southern Man in Sweet Home Alabama. But please get an editor to proof your copy or you will perpetuate the myth that southerners can't spell. It's "segregationist", not "segrationist", and so on...

(OK, all the rockers can flame away now).

 
At 2/09/2009 12:48:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

Thanks Everyonesacritic! Corrected. :)

 
At 3/13/2009 11:35:00 AM, Blogger Keith said...

Thrasher seems to have a chip on his shoulder, probably because he lives somewhere other than Montgomery. (If you live in Alabama, you know what I mean, unless you're a Montgomerian living in denial.) His point is clear, but his comments are filled with logical inconsistencies. For example, we know Neil was a champion for the poor, but supposedly he didn't do concerts in Alabama for economic reasons. Hmm. We can understand the meaning of Southern Man by looking at Neil's origins. He is Canadian. Although he lives in the US, he refuses to give up his Canadian citizenship. The South in Southern Man is the entire United States, and Lynyrd Skynyrd spoke for all of us. It's just like how you can only truly understand The Guess Who's American Woman after reviewing the pro-gay messages inside the gayt-fold of the original The Best of the Guess Who vinyl album. Interestingly, The Best of The Guess Who is not listed in the band's discography on Wikipedia.

 
At 3/26/2009 03:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BEHIND THE LARGE 'MEDIA/TV'CREATED AGENDA AND SPIN, THERE'S THE ALABAMA THAT THESE PLAYERS WERE AWARE OF;....THE DESIRES OF THE 'BLACK PROTESTERS AS WELL AS WHITE NORTHERNERS/'60'S COLLEGE CROWD' TO ...APPLY THE CONSTITUTION IN WAYS THAT HAD NOT 'REALLY' OCCURED PREVIOSLY; CREATED MUCH, CONFLICT, HATRED & SAFETY ISSUES;COMBAT;CONFLICTS..ETC.....THE GOVENOR; ALWAYS HAD TO TRY TO MAINTAIN:SAFTEY & CROWD CONTROL; AS THESE DEMONSTRATIONS WHICH WERE GETTING NATIONAL COVERAGE.."OFTEN SENSATIONAIZING VIOLENCE"..TO MOVE THERE.AGENDA;........ALABAMA'S STILL A SWEET HOME AND A PROUD STATE WITH A CHERISHED HISTORY.
.
SWEET HOME ALABAMA*****
-ARLAUSKAS

 
At 3/29/2009 09:04:00 PM, Anonymous Mike said...

Skynyrd's 1st album has a song called "Things Goin' On" that makes it hard for me to believe Ronnie Van Zant was "racist".

Have you ever lived down in the ghetto
Have you ever felt that cool wind blow
If you don't know what I mean
won't you stand up and scream
cuz there's thing goin on you don't know
Too many lives they spend across the ocean
Too much money they spend up on the moon
Well until they make it right
I hope they never sleep at night
They better make some changes and do it soon
There going to ruin the air that we breath (Lord have mercy)
There going to ruin us all bye an bye
I tell you all, you beware
I don't think they really care
Think they just sit up there and just get high
Well, have you ever lived down in that ghetto
Have you ever felt that cool wind blow
If you don't know what I mean
Won't you stand up and scream
Cuz there's things goin on that you don't know (tell it, tell it)

 
At 4/23/2009 07:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is the idiot who wrote this article? This man or woman remarked that the conservative movement was teh party of segregation. Here's five words for ya "Pick up a history book!" Abraham Lincoln was a republican conservative. It was the conservative house and senate that passed the civil rights act, conservatives have been bettling liberals on race for years. Conservatives believed that anyone can make it if they try. Liberals believe that anyone who isn't white some how needs help in this country. I would suggest to the writer of this article to present the facts honestly instead of labelling all conservatives racist when in fact it's the other way around in my opinion. May the writer should learn a little about this country before he or she starts talking about the politics. God Damn Hippies!

 
At 6/05/2009 12:59:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the person who wrote this doesn't know a thing about our country or its history. and as for Neil young he can get his anti-government, anti-American ass out of here, cause like the song says we dont need neil anyway, that stupid bitch needs to get the hell out. and to all those that say they were racist go listen to the song ballad of curtis loew then i dare u to say another thing about them being racist.

 
At 7/02/2009 12:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK,first of all most songs are NOT written in the first person. So don't ascribe the ideas in a song with the artist. Merle Haggard's "Okie From Muskokee" is a prime example. Haggard was doing a character study of the parochial point of view. The ideas in the song are not his personal beliefs,But rather "someone like my father who was an Okie from Muskokee",he has repeated this in many interviews. "Sweet Home Alabama" is obviously in the same vein.Van Zandt and Young knew each other and were friendly,there was never any beef between them.

 
At 8/02/2009 12:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rebal Rebal

Seen Lynyrd two times lately and Neil three or so...

Awesome folks, panhead roger...

 
At 8/06/2009 07:44:00 AM, Blogger Nevermind said...

I am simply happy to hear either it was all a joke, or that they are now friends-my respect for LS has gone up considerably
ive never much liked 'boogie rock', and in fact dont much listen to Young except for EKTIN (now remastered after centuries)and a few other songs-but i knew where he was coming from and respected him

 
At 9/09/2009 03:43:00 PM, Blogger sshaw72973 said...

Skynyrd was not racist in any way. van zant wrote "Sweet Home" half as a joke and half to clear the air. The song says it all; In Birmingham they love the Governor, boo boo boo. We all did what we could do...." You don't have to be a genius to see that he was mocking Wallace and stating that he and his friends did all that they could do to change the racism. By "watergate does not bother me, does your conscience bother you...." he was saying he had nothing to do with either racism or watergate so leave us alone, not every southern man is a racist. Listen to "write it in a song" very liberal message but a great song.

 
At 9/18/2009 01:49:00 AM, Blogger drdon said...

For what it's worth, the Songs on After the Gold rush (according to the liner notes) were written to go with the movie by the same name. Might Southern Man have been written about a character in the movie, or at least inspired by it and have absolutely nothing to do with Neil Young's personal feelings at the time?

 
At 9/21/2009 05:32:00 PM, Blogger Domingo said...

thank you very much for this article ... I was quite surprised first time I listened "sweet home" lyrics on Neil ... I forget the episoded and reminded it once again while playing rockband .. a mate asked me "well .. you know about rock .. what was the issued between them" ... hahaha .... but I love both of them ... they rock, and I rock too.
Best and thanks once again,
D.

 
At 1/28/2010 04:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think I ever met more than 5 people all the time I lived in south who weren't HUGE Neil Young fans, as well as Skynyrd fans. Most of us didn't think they were mutually exclusive. We laughed at the Sweet Home Alabama and put After the Gold Rush on right after (or vice versa). Southerners are used to scorn:that's why the Neil Young "slights" didn't bother us, and the whole southern rock movement made us proud. Just as the confederate flag (which is not called the Stars and Bars, that was an earlier confederate flag)does.

 
At 2/14/2010 02:36:00 AM, OpenID voice0reason said...

"So how could a song championing such liberal causes as civil rights, justice and equality become such an anthem for the party and policies of segregationist and ultra-radically conservative George Wallace"

I love your version of revisionist history, which is the only way that liberals can claim the fight for civil rights as their own. As George Wallace was a democrat, so was Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.)who completed a 14 hr address opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, along with other Democrats in their attempt to filibuster the legislation.
Guess who else opposed the Civil Rights Act? Albert Gore,Sr.(D-TN) none other than former VP Al Gore the junior's daddy.

Democrats f#$king filibustered the Civil Rights Act!

So Republicans and conservatives aren't for civil rights eh?
Who put an end to slavery then? Was it a democrat?
No it was republican President Abraham Lincoln who also had one of the first Republicans as his advisor, none other than Frederick Douglass who was one of the foremost leaders of the abolitionist movement. He eagerly attended the founding meeting of the republican party in 1854 and campaigned for its nominees.
IF that wasn't proof enough I mean you have Martin Luther King, Jr. himself who was a registered Republican, who we honor today with Martin Luther King day, man we better thank the democrat that passed that into law! Oh wait it was Ronald Reagan that passed MLK day into law, I guess you liberals and democrats fail there too.
Why don't you educate yourself, instead of spouting your revisionist history, about who really has done more for the civil rights cause. Here's a nice little who's who list of great and influential Black Leaders who just happen to be Republicans.

http://www.nationalblackrepublicans.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=pages.blackgop&x=6741276

 
At 2/18/2010 09:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What can you say about a lyricist that calls the governor “true” and “boos” him all in the same song?

 

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