(Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd)

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(Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd)
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 13, 1973 (1973-08-13)
RecordedMarch 27 – May 1, 1973
StudioStudio One, Doraville, Georgia, U.S.
ProducerAl Kooper
Lynyrd Skynyrd chronology
(Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd)
Second Helping
Singles from (Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd)
  1. "Gimme Three Steps"
    Released: November 5. 1973
  2. "Free Bird"
    Released: November 4. 1973
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideA[2]
MusicHound4/5 stars[3]
Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[4]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars [5]

Lynyrd Skynyrd (Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd) is the debut album from American rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, released in 1973.[6] Several of the album's songs remain among the band's most well-known: "Gimme Three Steps", "Simple Man", "Tuesday's Gone" and "Free Bird", the last of which launched the band to national stardom.

The album was certified gold on December 18, 1974, and double platinum on July 21, 1987, by the RIAA. The album also peaked at 27 in the Billboard 200 in 1975.


Most of the songs on the album had been in the band's live repertoire for some time. The band found a rural rehearsal space near Jacksonville which they nicknamed "Hell House" due to the long hours spent there jamming in the intense Florida heat, and it was there that they composed and ran through the songs endlessly until they were perfected. Producer Al Kooper marveled at how well prepared the band were once they entered the studio; every note was immutable and absolutely no improvisation was allowed.[7]

Bassist Leon Wilkeson left the band a few months before the album's recording sessions.. Ex-Strawberry Alarm Clock guitarist Ed King had been extremely impressed with the band after an earlier incarnation of Skynyrd had opened for Strawberry Alarm Clock in Florida circa 1970. He told vocalist Ronnie Van Zant to keep him in mind if he ever needed a guitarist, and Van Zant immediately thought of him and he was given an invitation to replace Wilkeson as bassist. Once the recording sessions were wrapping up, Van Zant decided that King would better serve the band as a guitarist, and he visited Wilkeson and convinced him to rejoin. Wilkeson returned to the band and King moved to lead guitar, giving the band what would become their trademark "Three Guitar Army" along with Allen Collins and Gary Rossington. Wilkeson was back in the band by the time the band shot the cover photo for the album, and appears on the cover, as well as being acknowledged in the liner notes.[7]

Atlanta Rhythm Section drummer and friend of the band Robert Nix was requested by Van Zant and Al Kooper to play on the track "Tuesday's Gone".

As the band worked up "Simple Man" in rehearsal, producer Kooper expressed his feeling that the song was weak and should not be included on the album. The band felt differently on both counts and could not change Kooper's mind. Ultimately, Van Zant escorted the producer outside to his car and ordered him to remain there until the song was recorded. The band recorded the song on their own with the producer banned from the studio, and it subsequently became one of Lynyrd Skynyrd's most well known tracks.[7]

American troops returning home from the Vietnam War by plane in the mid-1970s traveled on what became known as the Freebird Express, and it was common for the song "Free Bird" to be played in their honor as they boarded the planes.

The album was re-released in 2001 as an expanded version with bonus tracks, including the two B-sides to the original singles and three previously unreleased demos from the album sessions.[1] Sales through 2014 were an estimated 2 million units internationally.[8]

Cover art[edit]

The cover photograph was taken on Main Street in Jonesboro, Georgia, and shows, from left to right, Leon Wilkeson (seated), Billy Powell (seated), Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington (seated), Bob Burns, Allen Collins and Ed King. The photo was the last in a long day of shooting for the album cover, and Rossington vomited on the sidewalk seconds after it was taken.[7]

With Ed King's death on August 22, 2018, Rossington is the last surviving member of Lynyrd Skynyrd pictured in this photo.


Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd immediately put the band on the rock-and-roll map. Upon its release, rock journalist Robert Christgau acknowledged the quality of the songs and gave the album an "A" rating while referring to Lynyrd Skynyrd as a "staunchly untranscendent band".[9] Producer Al Kooper, a close friend of Pete Townshend's, secured the band a spot opening for The Who on their American tour, and Lynyrd Skynyrd was subsequently exposed to much larger audiences than they'd ever seen before.[7]

In 2012, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album number 403 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[10]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."I Ain't the One"Gary Rossington, Ronnie Van Zant3:53
2."Tuesday's Gone"Allen Collins, Van Zant7:32
3."Gimme Three Steps"Collins, Van Zant4:30
4."Simple Man"Rossington, Van Zant5:57
Side two
1."Things Goin' On"Rossington, Van Zant5:00
2."Mississippi Kid"Al Kooper, Van Zant, Bob Burns3:56
3."Poison Whiskey"Ed King, Van Zant3:13
4."Free Bird"Collins, Van Zant9:09
Total length:43:03
  • Sides one and two were combined as tracks 1–8 on CD reissues.
2001 CD reissue bonus tracks
9."Mr. Banker" (demo)Rossington, Van Zant, King5:23
10."Down South Jukin'" (demo)Rossington, Van Zant2:57
11."Tuesday's Gone" (demo)Collins, Van Zant7:56
12."Gimme Three Steps" (demo)Collins, Van Zant5:20
13."Free Bird" (demo)Collins, Van Zant11:09


Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Ronnie Van Zant – lead vocals, lyrics
  • Gary Rossington – lead guitar on "Tuesday's Gone," "Gimme Three Steps," "Things Goin' On", "Simple Man" and "Poison Whiskey"; rhythm guitar on all others, slide guitar on "Free Bird."
  • Allen Collins – lead guitar on "I Ain't The One", "Simple Man" and "Free Bird," rhythm guitar on all others
  • Ed King – lead guitar on "Mississippi Kid," bass guitar on all tracks except "Mississippi Kid" and "Tuesday's Gone", guitar fills on "Tuesday's Gone" (during piano solo), Mellotron on "Free Bird"
  • Leon Wilkeson - bass, backing vocals
  • Billy Powell – keyboards
  • Bob Burns – drums except on "Tuesday's Gone"
Additional personnel
  • Al Kooper (Roosevelt Gook) – bass, Mellotron and back-up harmony on "Tuesday's Gone," mandolin & bass drum on "Mississippi Kid," organ on "Simple Man," "Poison Whiskey" and "Free Bird"
  • Robert Nix – drums on "Tuesday's Gone"
  • Bobbye Hall – percussion on "Gimme Three Steps" and "Things Goin' On"
  • Steve Katz – harmonica on "Mississippi Kid"
  • Al Kooper – Producer, Engineer
  • Bob “Tub” Langford – Engineer
  • Rodney Mills – Engineer
  • Thomas Hill – Photography
  • Michael Diehl – Design


  1. ^ a b Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "(pronounced 'leh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd) - Lynyrd Skynyrd | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-07-14.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: L". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 1, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  3. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20071110042906/http://www.acclaimedmusic.net/Current/A1149.htm
  4. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20071110042906/http://www.acclaimedmusic.net/Current/A1149.htm
  5. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20071110042906/http://www.acclaimedmusic.net/Current/A1149.htm
  6. ^ "Lynyrd Skynyrd". Lynyrd Skynyrd. Archived from the original on 2012-02-27. Retrieved 2012-03-06.
  7. ^ a b c d e If I Leave Here Tomorrow: A Film About Lynyrd Skynyrd, Passion Pictures, Directed by Stephen Kijak, 2018
  8. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Lynyrd Skynyrd, 'pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2014-07-14.
  9. ^ "CG: Lynyrd Skynyrd". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2014-07-14.
  10. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone Magazine. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 2019-08-05.