The proof of the greatness of Southern rock music can be found in any music store where re-releases of albums from the past with the label “digital re-master” drives the collector to purchase this great music – one more time! I have often been involved in discussions about what songs were the greatest. The question is; which are the 3 best Southern classic rock songs of all time? Here is my list.
I suggest that the top 3 are:
· Free Bird
Lynyrd Skynyrd is arguably the best of the Southern rock bands of the seventies. Had not Ronnie Van Zandt and two other members perished in a plane crash, one can only hazard a guess as to how many more songs would have endured as long as this one. It is not only a great song but it contains one of the greatest extended guitar solos of any genre. It starts as a ballad and is the only guy-girl love song written by front man Johnnie Van Zandt and guitarist Allen Collins. It is one of few songs where the title is mentioned only one time but is forever etched in the memory of guitar enthusiasts. Guitar World magazine, in 2008, listed the guitar solo as one of the three greatest of all time in any genre. Sweet Alabama, another Lynyrd Skynyrd song, could easily make this list as well
· Can’t You See
Released in 1973 by the Marshall Tucker Band and written by band member Toy Caldwell, this song was also the band’s first single and peaked at number 75 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Waylon Jennings version of the song peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles Chart in 1976. It reached number 1 on the RPM Country charts in Canada. It is one of the few rock songs, other than Jethro Tull, which feature a flute solo as an intro. It is instantly recognizable because of this solo. It is also virtually impossible to listen to the song in any large gathering without singing along to the solo and rocking your body in time to the beat.
· La Grange
“La Grange” was released in 1973 by ZZ Top and is easily one of their most recognized songs. The subject of the song was a brothel in Texas which was later the subject of the movie “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” It is unfortunate that ZZ Top never got to play in “Miss Edna’s boarding house” in La Grange Texas, nor that their song wasn’t in one of the opening scenes in the movie about that illustrious establishment. It certainly stands as a standard of Southern rock and the Gibson Les Paul as the centerpiece of the sound of ZZ Top.