What did Neil Young do to anger Lynard Skynad?

7 Answers

  • MUDD
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Songwriters often take little jabs at each other in response to each other's songs, but it doesn't necessarily mean that any personal animosity exists, or in this case existed. The line "Southern Man don't need him around anyhow" would have been seen to be a pretty weak comeback by anyone's standards, and there is a saying that applies here, "Any publicity is good publicity." The fact that they mentioned Neil's name meant that there it was more of a tip of the hat (we heard ya) than a wag of the finger! (with thanks to Steven Colbert) If you come right out and say that someone is great in a song, it is usually seen as being ingratiating, but if you do something a little sarcastic and cynical, it works just as well, and everybody wins. It also sells records by the way (LOL)


    Their second album, 1974's Second Helping, was the band's breakthrough hit. It featured their most popular single "Sweet Home Alabama" (#8 on the charts in August 1974), an answer song to Neil Young's "Alabama" and "Southern Man". Today, Young claims that he and Van Zant were not rivals, that they were actually fans of each other's music, and that they had talked of collaborations together. It is often assumed that Young's song "Powderfinger" was given to Lynyrd Skynyrd to perform, speculation Young does not deny. Unfortunately, the Skynyrd plane crash happened just months after that song was penned, leading Neil Young to perform the song himself on his 1978 album Rust Never Sleeps. Furthering the rumors of friendship, Young has occasionally included the chorus from "Sweet Home Alabama" at his own live concerts, including at Young's first live performance following Van Zant's tragic death. Finally, one of the last photos of Ronnie Van Zant prior to his passing features the frontman wearing a Neil Young t-shirt.[2]

    Since the singer's interment in 1977, rumors have existed that Ronnie Van Zant was buried in a Neil Young T-shirt as a supposed curse against him, although truthfully there was no feud between the two (see above, band history). Some fans believe this rumor was the reason the gravesites of Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines were broken into on June 29, 2000, in Orange Park, Florida. Others believe that this desecration was motivated by the 1986 Dead Kennedys track "A Commercial" [4] which mockingly referred to exhuming the bodies of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Van Zant's casket was dragged onto the grounds, but was not opened. Gaines' cremated remains, which were in a plastic bag in an urn, were scattered on the ground near his site. 99% of his ashes were recovered. The families decided to move their remains to an undisclosed location, leaving the mausoleums as memorials for fans to visit.

  • 1 decade ago

    In his "Southern Man", Neil Young addressed slavery and post Civil War racism in a none too flattering fashion....makes sense, I suppose, I mean it is unquestionably an unflattering bit of American history.

    Lynyrd Skynyrd's southern pride was offended by some of Young's lyrics and they retorted in their "Sweet Home Alabama", telling Neil Young that 'a Southern Man don't need him around anyhow"...

    All in all...I'd go so far as to say that groups on both sides of the issue have blown the animosity between them out of proportion....Isn't that always the way...why seek a higher path when throwing mud at others is so much more fun?

    Sad but so often true.

  • 1 decade ago

    Sweet Home Alabama was written in response to Neil's song Alabama.

    (Here's a cover version)


    Youtube thumbnail


    After hearing Skynyrd mention his name in their defense on "Sweet Home," Neil countered with Southern Man.

    Actually what you have here is a trilogy of dialog in song.

    RonnieVan Zant is quoted in a booklet in a boxed set of the band's recordings as saying, "We wrote 'Alabama' as a joke. We didn't even think about it; the words just came out that way. We just laughed ... and said 'Ain't that funny'... We love Neil Young, we love his music."


  • 1 decade ago

    I didn't know he angered Skynyrd. Thought it was Alabama that hated Neil Young.

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  • 1 decade ago

    He wrote the song Southern Man. It is not complimentary to Southerners. And Lynyrd Skynyrd were from Gainsville I believe.

  • Jeff A
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    He recorded the songs "Southern Man" and "Alabama" which portrayed southerners in a poor light.

  • ii7-V7
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    You said, "Skynad."

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