Released as a single in late 1974, “Free Bird” became the band’s second Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1975, where it peaked at #19. A live version of the song also reached the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977, peaking at #38.
It is used as a finale by Lynyrd Skynyrd during their live performances, and it is their longest song.
The lyrical portion of the song was written early in the group’s history. Roadie Billy Powell was discovered as a keyboardist for the band when he played the intro piece to “Free Bird” at a high school prom. Lead vocalist Ronnie Van Zant noted his talent and invited him to join.
“If I leave here tomorrow would you still remember me?” was asked of Allen Collins by his girlfriend. Collins jotted the question down and it eventually became the opening line of “Free Bird”.
|Lynyrd Skynyrd - Simple Man||6:35||378,628|
|Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama||4:44||794,583|
|Creedence Clearwater Revival - Fortunate Son||2:21||685,471|
|Boston - More Than a Feeling||4:44||666,853|
|ZZ Top - La Grange||7:38||392,764|
|Foghat - Slow Ride||9:13||227,259|