And seeing as how Ronnie Van Zant revered Merle as one of his all-time favorites from a young age, this one was a seamless fit.
On Skynyrd’s 1977 album Street Survivors, “Honky Tonk Night Time Man” was plucked straight from icon Merle Haggard’s catalog and recorded as the side B third track. The album was famously released three days before the tragic plane crash which killed three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, including lead vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, as well as handful of others.
The Hag originally recorded the song in 1974 on his album Merle Haggard Presents His 30th Album, where he’s listed as the sole writer of the song.
The song inspired Van Zant so much, in fact, that he recreated an almost identical version for the same album, outtake “Jacksonville Kid”, which was later included on a re-released version of Street Survivors.
If you’re not paying attention, you’d think it was the same exact song as “Honky Tonk Night Time Man,” as the arrangement is nearly identical. Van Zant and Haggard are even listed as co-writers on the autobiographical track.
It’s country meets southern rock at its absolute finest.