220px-Lynyrdskynyrd#18 – Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Free Bird” – (1973)

“Free Bird” was actually the final track on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s debut album. It’s the band’s signature song (right there with “Sweet Home Alabama”) and stands as one of the definitive songs of classic rock. At an album length of just over nine minutes, live versions regularly exceeded 10 (sometimes 15) – including the one below which is actually from Freebird… The Movie, a concert documentary about the band. The joke with this song is, of course, to yell out “Free Bird!” at concerts as it’s one of the most requested songs ever. The song peaked at #19 on the Hot 100 and has one of the greatest guitar solos of all time.

220px-SecondHelpingLynyrdSkynyrd#2 – Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Sweet Home Alabama” – (1974)

There is a lot that can be said about this song. It’s sort of like the anthem for the Deep South. The Confederate Flag has been in the news a lot lately and this is sort of its theme song. It has a really catchy guitar riff and was written as a reply to Neil Young’s “Southern Man” and “Alabama.” Neil Young later agreed that the shots they took at him in this song were deserved. This is a song about a time – it may have been 1974 but the wounds of the 60s were still healing. This is the definitive southern rock song and one of the definitive classic rock songs. Like it or not, you must admit this is a piece of American history.

Will to Power – “Baby I Love Your Way/Freebird Medley” – (1988)

For all rational purposes, Will to Power was a one-hit wonder. But they did manage quite a feat: only getting one cover song to #1, but two – and on the same track at that! “Baby I Love Your Way” was originally a hit for Peter Frampton in 1976 and “Free Bird” a 1975 hit for Lynyrd Skynyrd. “Freebaby,” as this song is sometimes called, makes more use of Frampton’s hit than Skynyrd’s – but they’re both there. “Baby I Love Your Way” would hit #6 a few years after this song was released –again a cover version but this time by reggae band Big Mountain.