Lynyrd Skynyrd’s First Time Reuniting After The 1977 Plane Crash Was This Epic 13-Minute Instrumental Performance Of “Free Bird” With Charlie Daniels In 1979

Lynyrd Skynyrd

There aren’t many songs that are more iconic than “Free Bird.”

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant, both founding members of the legendary southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, the song was included on Skynyrd’s debut album, (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd), and quickly helped the band cement their place as one of the most iconic southern rock bands of all time.

It obviously became one of Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s signature songs, and when the band released a live version of the song two years after it was first released, “Free Bird” once again entered the charts and peaked inside the top 50 for a second time.

But shortly after the song’s second stint on the chart, tragedy struck Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The tragic plane crash in October 1977 that took the life of lead singer Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines, as well as background singer Cassie Gaines and the band’s assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, brought Skynyrd’s meteoric rise to a halt as the surviving members dealt with the tragedy and determined what the future of Lynyrd Skynyrd should look like.

But just two years after the plane crash, Lynyrd Skynyrd would once again take the stage for the first time since their plane crash – and for the first time without their lead singer.

The band reunited in Nashville in January 1979 for the first time since the tragedy, making an appearance at Charlie Daniels’ annual Volunteer Jam.

And it was only fitting that they would perform their most iconic song.

Without a lead singer, and joined by Daniels and members of CDB band, Skynyrd took the stage to thank the fans on behalf of the families of Van Zant and Gaines before launching into an epic 13-minute instrumental version of “Free Bird.”

Of course the crowd loved every minute of it, and as the audience delivered a standing ovation, drummer Artimus Pyle hopped on the mic to sum up everybody’s feelings about that moment:

“Everybody in the band, we know who you’re yelling for. It’s Ronnie and Steve and Cassie and Dean. Thank you very much.”

It would be another 8 years before the surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd would reunite on stage again for a full-scale tour.

But for one night in Nashville in 1979, the world got their first glimpse of one of the greatest southern rock bands of all time as they recovered from the tragedy of the October 1977 plane crash.

And it was absolutely epic.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock