Sunday, December 6, 2015

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Sending A Clear And Powerful Message

Handguns are made for killin'
They ain't no good for nothin' else
And if you like to drink your whiskey
You might even shoot yourself

Some why don't dump 'em, people
To the bottom of the sea?
Before some old fool comes 'round here
And tries to shoot either you or me

That's From a Lynyrd Skynyrd song released as a single 40 years ago, "Saturday Night Special." Then a couple of years after that they released an album entitled Gimme Back My Bullets. Then in 1977 several of the band members died in a plane crash. Then in 1987 the band re-formed with several new members, including a new lead singer, Johnny Van Zant, the younger brother of the late original lead singer, Ronnie Van Zant. Before joining the new version of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ronnie had fronted a band called -- .38 Special. In 2009 Lynyrd Skynyrd released an album entitled God & Guns and pal'ed around with Sean Hannity. Johnny has been quoted as saying that the song and title track "God & Guns" is not a direct contradiction of his big brother's song "Saturday Night Special."

Just an indirect contradiction, I guess.

In 2012, the band stopped using the Confererate flag in its concerts and merchandise, because they wanted to distance themselves from racists who fly the flag. Then a couple of weeks later they started flying the flag again because fans had complained.

Back in the 70's, the original band recorded "Sweet Home Alabama" in response to Neil Young's single "Southern Man." Among "Sweet Home Alabama" 's lyrics is the following stanza:

Well I heard Mr Young sing about her [the South]
I heard ol' Neil put her down
Well I hope Neil Young will remember
A Southern man don't need him around anyhow

But Neil was good friends with Ronnie Van Zant. He wrote "Powderfinger" for Lynyrd Skynyrd to record. And lest we forget, there's some powerful gun imagery in "Powderfinger's" lyrics too.

So clearly, the point of this whole post is: how could anybody ever think they were getting mixed signals from Lynyrd Skynyrd about anything?

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