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Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama

Originally written and released in the summer of 1974 as a tongue in cheek response to two Neil Young songs, Southern Man and Alabama, which were both dealing with the subjects of racism and slavery in the American South, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama arguably became more popular than the Neil Young songs it was trying to address (according to Skynyrd member Ronnie Van Zant, Young’s song tries to address the issue of slavery and racism by shooting down all the ducks in order to hit two.)
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama topped the Billboard charts and stayed there decades after the song was released, outlasting many of Young’s songs, it also made an appearance in various movie soundtracks, most notably the 1994 film Forrest Gump and the 1997 film Con Air.
Outside of the brouhaha over the song’s connection with Neil Young, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama stood the test of time because it is such a pure representation of the Southern Rock sound, with a twangy, slightly overdriven guitar accompanied by a barrelhouse piano, combined with a call to party and solid groove, resulting in a song that is as catchy as it is recognisable, and so effectively represents a generation and a subculture with a simple guitar riff that is as irresistible now as it was back when it was first released.