Saturday, January 22, 2005

Neil Young vs. Lynyrd Skynyrd

Rhapsody link of songs to follow in this post. (tracklisting)

Since I'm listening to Kings of Leon's new Southern Rock, it's seems appropriate to jump back a bit. In the aftermath of the election and the South vs North, the Neil Young vs. Ronnie Van Zant (Lynyrd Skynyrd) lyrical battlefield has raised it's head again.

In 1973, Ronnie Van Zant wrote "Sweet Home Alabama" (Second Helping, 1974) as a response to two Neil Young songs, "Southern Man" (After The Gold Rush, 1970) and "Alabama" (Harvest, 1972) which were pointed songs at the racism going on in the south at the time.

"Sweet Home Alabama" was meant to be a drunken, fun needle at Young, as the Lynyrd Skynyrd boys liked Neil's songs a lot.

Well I heard mister young sing about her
Well, I heard ole neil put her down
Well, I hope neil young will remember
A southern man don’t need him around anyhow

Many people believe Neil then responded with "Walk On" (On the Beach, 1974)

Warren Zevon weighed in a bit with "Play it all Night Long" (Bad Luck Streak In Dancing School, 1980) especially the chorus: "Sweet Home Alabama, play that dead band's song."

The Drive-By Truckers, though, tell most the story in two great songs "Ronnie and Neil" and "The Three Great Alabama Icons" (Southern Rock Opera, 2001.) In it, they add some interesting bits like Neil was an honorary pall bearer at Ronnie's funeral.

A Neil Young appreciation site, Thrasherswheat, has a the definitive story on the legendary so-called feud between Neil and Ronnie, and lays it to rest for good. Most interesting bit has Ronnie wearing a Neil Young t-shirt (from Tonight's the Night, 1975) on the cover of their last album (Street Survivors, 1977 ;) and Neil's bass player wearing a Lynyrd Skynyrd t-shirt in the live concert film Rust Never Sleeps.

More links:
Weigh in on which song you like better ("Southern Man" vs "Sweet Home Alabama".)
It's even a discussion lesson in school...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

1. "Southern Man" - Neil Young (After The Goldrush, 1970
2. "Alabama" - Neil Young (Harvest, 1972)
3. "Sweet Home Alabama" - Lynyrd Skynyrd (Second Helping, 1974)
4. "Walk On" - Neil Young (On The Beach, 1974)
5. "Ronnie and Neil" - The Drive-By Truckers (Southern Rock Opera, 2001)
6. "The Three Great Alabama Icons" - The Drive-By Truckers (Southern Rock Opera, 2001)
7. "Play It All Night Long" - Warren Zevon (Bad Luck Streak In Dancing School, 1980)