Great Rock Albums of the 70s: Lynyrd Skynyrd- Street Survivors

I thought I was ready to move onto the next part of my tour through metal history when as luck would have it, more classic rock albums come to mind and these are ones I feel I can’t ignore. This album came to mind courtesy of my metal buddy Metalodyssey who recently posted an upcoming benefit concert performed by none other than Lynyrd Skynyrd. Then I realised that I had left out the album “Street Survivors” and felt it was only fair to visit it here.

Picture the scene, October 1977, radio was bombarding us with disco and most of the music world hadn’t gotten over the recent death of Elvis Presley two months earlier. On the evening of the 20th, I had been at work knocking doors trying to get people to subscribe to the local evening newspaper without much success. I got into my boss’s car for the drive home when he tells me that Lynyrd Skynyrd was killed in a plane crash. The tragic crash which took the lives of Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines left a big hole in the rock world at that time and to some, it still does.

“Street Survivors” was released just three days before the plane crash and let me be one to stomp on any myth that the album only did so well becasue of the tragedy. Yes, I was more interested in hearing the album because of it, but I firmly believe that this album would have still stood out, crash or no crash. The tracks show case the unique southern boogie- rock style that the band was famous for and proved to be a show case for the newest member, the multi talented Steve Gaines.

Track Listing:

1. What’s Your Name

2. That Smell

3. One More Time

4. I Know a Little

5. You Got That Right

6. I Never Dreamed

7. Honky Tonk Night Time Man

8. Ain’t No Good Life

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Ronnie Van Zant- vocals

Steve Gaines- guitar, backing vocals, lead vocal on “Ain’t No Good Life”

Gary Rossington- guitar

Allen Collins- guitar

Billy Powell- piano

Leon Wilkeson- bass

Artimus Pyle- drums

When listening to the album, it is easy to see why “Street Survivors” is counted as one of Skynyrd’s best. Great rocking tracks like “You Got That Right” and “What’s Your Name” combined with some gutsy blues based guitar work in songs like “That Smell” and “I Know a Little” make it that way. Even more than three decades after the plane crash, the freebird continues to fly on.

Next post: Talking Heads- 77

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