"Free Bird" (often spelled "Freebird", including by the band itself on the cover of the single) is a song by the American rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. It first featured on the band's debut album in 1973, and has been included on subsequent albums released by the band, including the previously unreleased, unfaded-ending version of the original recording (featured on Skynyrd's Innyrds). Amazon.com music reviewer Lorry Fleming calls it "the most-requested song in the history of rock music."
Released as a single in November 1974, "Free Bird" became the band's second Top 40 hit on the Hot 100Billboard chart in early 1975, where it peaked at No. 19. A live version of the song also reached the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977, peaking at No. 38. Free Bird also achieved the No. 3 spot on Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Solos.
Rock music is a genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s' and 1950s' rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical sources.
Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with bass guitar and drums. Typically, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature utilizing a verse-chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse and common musical characteristics are difficult to define. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political in emphasis. The dominance of rock by white, male musicians has been seen as one of the key factors shaping the themes explored in rock music. Rock places a higher degree of emphasis on musicianship, live performance, and an ideology of authenticity than pop music.
Lynyrd Skynyrd (pronounced / / LEN-ərd-SKIN-ərd) is an American rock band best known for popularizing the southern hard-rock genre during the 1970s. Originally formed in 1964 as the The Noble Five in Jacksonville, Florida, the band rose to worldwide recognition on the basis of its driving live performances and signature tunes "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Free Bird". At the peak of their success, three members died in an airplane crash in 1977, putting an abrupt end to the band's most popular incarnation.
The surviving band members re-formed in 1987 for a reunion tour with lead vocalist Johnny Van Zant, the younger brother of lead singer and founder Ronnie Van Zant. The re-formed band continues to tour and record with original co-founding member Gary Rossington and core members Johnny Van Zant along with Rickey Medlocke who recorded with the band for a short time in the early 1970s. Long time drummer Michael Cartellone has recorded and toured with the band since 1999. Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 13, 2006.