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The 10 Best Lynyrd Skynyrd Songs That Everyone Should Know

lynyrd skynyrd songs

Lynyrd Skynyrd, without a doubt, ranks among the most iconic American rock bands of all time. Even if the name does not immediately ring a bell, you are bound to recognize several of their influential tracks, such as “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama”.

Over their storied career, the band has encountered equal amounts of success and tragedy. Since releasing their inaugural album in 1973, Lynyrd Skynyrd has experienced numerous member changes and untimely deaths.

One of the darkest moments in the band’s history was the catastrophic plane crash in 1977, which claimed the lives of many key members.

Despite the plethora of hardships, Lynyrd Skynyrd persevered and emerged as one of the most significant bands in America, producing countless singles that are still widely streamed today.

If you’re curious about the top Lynyrd Skynyrd songs to truly capture the essence of the band, you’ve landed on the right page. Today, we will present ten of the absolute best Lynyrd Skynyrd tracks that you simply cannot miss.

lynyrd skynyrd songs
Lynyrd Skynyrd live at CIA Cardiff, 2010 (source: Wikipedia)

1 – Free Bird

Let’s cut right to the chase with arguably one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s most popular songs that not only should everyone know, but that everyone likely already does know. Many people are often surprised to learn that this song was written and performed by Lynyrd Skynyrd. 

This song is representative of the Southern rock sound that the band helped to popularize. The song has a distinctly inspiring sound with lyrics that could easily uplift just about anyone! 

The song reaches around 9 minutes in length, but across that runtime, you will be taken on a musical odyssey of epic and uplifting proportions! 

The famous guitar riff that comes around five minutes into the song is iconic enough to have the song sticking in your mind, and make you feel like you could take on the world!

2 – I Know A Little

This is another incredibly uptempo song by the band that really highlights the Southern rock sound that they helped to popularize in their time.

And what a joyous track it is! The bass line is enough to get you moving, but the inclusion of a fantastic piano riff just elevates the song to even greater heights. 

The bass and piano act as the backbone of the song that the legendary guitar is built atop, allowing the song to earn a great sense of structure that makes it incredibly powerful to listen to! 

3 – Gimme Three Steps

This is a song that features a story about a man who believes his partner to be cheating on him. This is why the chorus is so catchy and memorable.

“Gimme three steps, Mister” are lyrics being sung by the man that the woman is cheating with as he begs for the main character to give him a head start before the main character fires his shotgun.

It’s a rather humorous song that features an incredible rhythm that can get you up and moving. This is thanks to the incredible guitar riff that is backed up by the equally impressive bassline that gives the song a central sense of rhythm. 

This is a traditional rock and roll song that helps to further prove why Lynyrd Skynyrd is such a recognizable name in rock!

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4 – Sweet Home Alabama

All you really need to hear is the opening guitar riff before you likely find yourself moving in no time. That opening guitar riff is arguably one of the most iconic riffs in rock and roll history, and this explains why ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ has become arguably the band’s biggest hit. 

The song is a glorious declaration of love for the band’s home state of Alabama. While this could be a source of criticism for the band, considering that the American South has garnered somewhat of a bad reputation for frequent racist values, the band has gone out of its way to be incredibly progressive despite some of the troubles of the state. 

The song itself has largely become something of an anthem within the state and is largely recognized as one of the most iconic rock songs of all time. 

5 – That Smell

Like many famous rock bands, numerous members of Lynyrd Skynyrd have fallen victim to drug and alcohol abuse problems. This song is a direct reflection on Gary Rossington’s own addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Gary Rossington served as the guitarist of the band and has become very beloved as a result of his masterful strumming.

‘That Smell’ directly refers to the ‘smell’ of drugs and alcohol, an intoxicating smell that draws many with an addiction to partake time and time again, to get that same high. 

The lyrics themselves are relatively dark, yet the Southern rock sound ensures that the song never becomes too heavy or uncomfortable to listen to.

There is still a great sense of rhythm to the song, despite the lyrical content that lurks at the back of the mind. It’s a wonderful medley of emotions!

6 – Comin’ Home

This is one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s slightly slower songs, but that in no way means that it lacks the recognizable energy of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s best music.

The song describes a pining to return home to familiarity, and to a place that truly can be considered ‘home’. It makes a great companion piece to ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, and further drives home the reverence that the band had for their home state.

Despite having a much slower tempo, the lyrics are still powerful, the vocals are still punchy, and the guitar riffs are simply electric. This is one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s lesser-known songs, but in no way one of their lesser works!

RELATED: The Best Deep Purple Songs Of All Time

7 – Gimme Back My Bullets

This song wastes no time jumping into its iconic guitar riff that features a great sense of rhythm that instantly sticks to your mind and never lets go. The multiple layers of guitar work in this track help to make it feel incredibly three-dimensional and fully formed. 

And the powerful lyrics at the back of the song drive the impact even further. There’s a slight sense of desperation in the song as lead singer Ronnie Van Zant pines for someone to “Gimme back my bullets”. The way the guitar shapes itself around his request is very powerful and memorable. 

8 – The Needle And The Spoon

This song features a guitar riff that is very reminiscent of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, but the lyrical content could not be any more different.

Judging by the title of the track, you’ve likely surmised that the song is about drug abuse, and the damage it can have on an individual mentally and physically. 

The song contains direct references to heroin use and the effects that heroin can have. It starts off by detailing the incredible high that the drug can deliver but very quickly turns to discuss the wider ramifications of the drug further down the line, as the song begins to take on a slightly darker and more somber tone.

It’s one of the most effective anti-drug songs in the world, it does not beat you over the head with its message, yet it still has an indelible impact on listeners.

9 – One More Time

This is one of the band’s more recognizable ballads, and while it may not be an international mega-hit like ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, it still features all of the staples of a good Lynyrd Skynyrd track, and is one of the best songs by the band to listen to to get a full sense of their sound. 

From the album Street Survivors, this song comes about 3 tracks in and sees the band slowing the tempo down to get a little more serious. Despite this, it still features incredibly powerful guitar and amazing vocals from the smoky voice of Ronnie Van Zant.

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10 – What’s Your Name

We figured we’d close out this list with another song that would be recognizable to superfans as one of the band’s best, but perhaps lesser-known to the layperson. 

This song was the last chart hit by the band, and it’s not really surprising when you hear the song for yourself.

It boasts an incredible groove with layered guitars and instrumentation that will have anyone feeling good. The lyrics are also very playful and flirty, making the song incredibly fun to listen to. 

To Wrap Up 

There we have it! Though the Lynyrd Skynyrd discography covers multiple decades, we have no doubt that these songs represent the band at its height of creativity and musical genius!

Check out these stories if you want to read more about founding member of the group, Ronnie Van Zant, or his daughter Tammy Van Zant.

See you next time!