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Free Bird

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by bass__player01, Feb 27, 2005.

  1. Ok This might sound to you like a stupid question maybe, but there seems to be some kind of joke or something around this song I don't know...

    Why do I always ear stories about people screaming this at gigs :eyebrow:

    can someone please explain me the origin of this, or the story about this song?
  2. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    I'm going to go out on a limb and guess you're a younger TB'er. ;)

    For those of us who started gigging in the late '70's and early '80's 'Free Bird' was sort of a required song. It's a great song the first 4,878,992 times you play it. And it's still a good song the next 17,248,559 times. Unfortunately, those 22,000,000+ times would probably cover about the first two weeks. The drunks LOVED this song and would request it over and over and over and over again and agian and again...ad nauseum. :crying: :bawl: :help: :bag: :rolleyes: :rollno: :scowl:
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    It was a 'staple'. Honestly, I have never played it in its entirety; a New Country band I gig with will end a tune ala "Free Bird"...kinda as an inside joke, I guess.

    ...related is the yell of "Skynyrd"!!!!!!
    I was once in a band that responded with a Disco-fied take on "Sweet Home Alabama"; the 1st verse was somewhat verbatim...the chorus was done in a '70s Disco feel(octave bass, funky-wah wah guitar, typical disco drum beat).
    Glad the people who usually yelled it had a sense of humour.
  4. Good guess ;)

    thanks for the explanation :)
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think there's more to it - so, it came to symbolise a certain kind of music to us in England - with guitar solos that went on for hours and hours of pointless fret wanking - that thankfully died out in the late 70s !

    So - Skynyrd were the epitome of 70s US guitar rock that became the butt of a load of jokes that I remember - comedians would do impersonations of rockers shouting "Freebird"......

    It was like the final death knell for : "hippies".....;)
  6. I've never heard of it either; I hear "Smoke On The Water" all the time, though.

    But I know about that one. :smug:
  7. Perfect-Tommy


    Mar 28, 2004
    Fret wanking is alive and well Sonny Jim. In America "Freebird" isn't usually a joke. People actually want to hear it, even if they call for it in jest. Even if the person that shouts it is doing so to joke, the entire crowd cheers if you can pull it off. I am even guilty of yelling "Freebird" at shows.

    It becomes a joke when you yell it at random stages of a show and at random bands. Example...

    My friend was in a Jazz quartet, they were going through charts and charts all night. Finally, just to make a total ass of myself, I yell out "Freebird!!!"

    It usually gets a laugh from other musicians... Though I honestly can listen to that song forever...
  8. dcr

    dcr Supporting Member

    The last band I saw in a club actually closed with "Free Bird". It was a bunch of friends of mine, and I was sitting in at the time.

    Gotta love that!

  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well, Billy-Joe - it's certainly the case that "Hippies" died out in Britain at about this time - late 70s - and it was definitely a big joke to mock anybody who looked a bit like an old Hippy , by shouting "FreeBird" at them, making a V sign and pulling a ... "stoned" face!! :D
  10. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    You never know.
    I mean, if the Bad Plus is doing stuff like "Iron Man"...
  11. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    Unfortunately,down here in the south,if you play any southern rock,or classic rock, you almost have to play Freebird. It's pretty much the redneck anthem down here.I got burned out on it 20 years ago,and hate it till this day still. I had heard that Freebird was written just to give drunk rednecks something to yell at concerts.(lol) Imagine, a born and raised southerner that can't stand Southern Rock.(SHHHH,don't tell anybody!)
  12. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    73....both Perfect and yourself are both right in my book. It is one of those Southern anthem's.

    Although it is, and continues to be shouted out and played to death, I still never want to change the station when I hear it come on and love turning into a jam band for 10 minutes when it's played.

    It's a staple...and a classic in my book. Always will be.
  13. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I've heard it yelled out as recently as our last gig.

    However, I've played it many times in the past...and the real joke is when some band tries to play it and doesn't play it right.

    Same thing with simple Skynyrd song as Sweet Home Alabama, or Call me the Breeze...they are very simple, but I have yet to hear any bands that really find the groove and play them right.

    When done well, they are great songs...what makes them a joke is the jokesters who can't find the groove in them and make them sound like crap.
  14. it goes beyond being a staple. at my gig this weekend (in Conyers, GA), our female lead singer was up and a couple of yahoos were repeatedly yelling "skynyrd". we eventually played Gimme 3 Steps to shut them up. you can't fight it; if you do, you will.

    One band I was in several years ago worked up a reggae version of Freebird. It featured the slide guitar melody over a reggae rhythm and staccato guitar chords for the verses and choruses. When it comes to the "won't fly-y-y-y-y high - freee-bird, yeah" we transitioned into the guitar jam but played it really, really fast. It was pretty cool, fun to play and usually got a good reaction.
  15. Perfect-Tommy


    Mar 28, 2004
    Oh that's right... you Euro types are all piss and "punk" rock, and punks have to be edgy, which includes burn down anything that isn't punk.

    I personally like jam bands, sets that go on for hours and the non-verbal communication between bandmemembers on stage.

    Anyways, Freebird really isn't "hippie" music. It's redneck music. There is a huge difference in Hippie and redneck. If you want to mock a hippie, yell something "What a long strange trip it's been" or singsong "Darkstar rising..." at them....
  16. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I play in a jazz group doing Real Book tunes off charts, and I'm gonna sneak a chart for Freebird into the book one of these days. We played a classy dinner gig the other night, so naturally I sound checked with Smoke On The Water. Our 'bone player picked right up on it, and the rest of the band might've followed suit, but one of the wait staff broke her ankle walking down some steps onto the stage at that very moment...ouch! :eyebrow:
  17. At gigs, I've never had "Free Bird" requested. The only two songs I've ever had screamed at me from the audience are "Stairway to Heaven" (which is apparently the #1 requested rock song...ever) and "Enter Sandman." Go figure.
  18. Exactly. To quickly illustrate this, juxtapose the lyrics of Skynyrd's other anthem "Sweet Home Alabama" with Neil Youngs "Southern Man".
  19. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member


    These songs are best done segued together in a medley.
    For coffee houses do Skynyrd first, everywhere else, end with SHA. In biker bars, restricting Neil Young to Intro and 1st chorus only is considered de rigeur.
  20. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    Some people just have a really hard time coming to grips with how awesome Skynyrd is. The songwriting and musicianship was, and still is to an extent, amazing.

    To say it's a staple..is putting it very lightly.

    And coupled with the fact that if you can't appreciate it we'll let the dogs tied up in the bed of my 4x4 attack ya! :D

    Yeeeeeeee Hawwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!