Whisky Rock-A-Roller

If your favorite beer is cold, your favorite music is loud and you like your shots from the reloader’s den, then Lynyrd Skynyrd just might be for you.

Along with the Allman Brothers and Z-Z- Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd merged the spirit of the old school south with hard driving trucker country and hard edge boogie to create the Southern Sound. By the mid 1970s it had a fan base as big as Motown or the San Francisco Sound.

“Sweet Home Alabama” was the group’s signature song and probably the tune that put them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. But the band had to overcome a big obstacle that would have left a lot of talented groups by the wayside.

Half of the band, including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, was killed in 1977 when the chartered aircraft carrying the band crashed in Mississippi. The remaining members suffered serious injuries. The album they were on the road promoting at the time, “Street Survivors,” went platinum later that year. Then, after a decade long break, the band reinvented itself and started touring and recording.

For Lynyrd Skynyrd, whose founders started jamming together fifty years ago, success is all about tradition. A tradition that mixes strong doses of patriotism with a rebellious American spirit, and, here in this tune, some other spirits. Grateful Dead fans used to show up at concerts waving peace signs. Lynyrd Skynyrd fans still show up in concerts wrapped in Confederate flags. Enjoy, with moderation.


About Author

Eric is a digital nomad who writes on sports, politics and culture. He is a member of PEN, one of the original bloggers on the HuffPo World section and is one of the pioneering contributors to Rolling Stone starting in 1968 working under co-founder Jann S. Wenner. Eric resides in Brazil and is fluent in five languages. His work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, National Review, New York Times and USA Today. Photo credit, Eric Ehrmann.