From the so late 60s come today, below are 30 songs the prove why southerly Rock is the genre that will never die


Southern absent legends Lynyrd Skynyrd: the band behind free Bird(Image credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Southern rock is the genre the refuses to die. Native its roots in the post-hippie 60s, v its 70s heyday and also up till today, the may have actually faded in and out the fashion however it’s never gone away. And hallelujah for that.

You are watching: Best southern rock songs of all time

For fans, it displayed the rebel spirit that mainstream rock shed a lengthy time ago. Giants of the genre Lynyrd Skynyrd preeminence the airwaves even today, yet go past them and there’s a host of bands who have stayed unswervingly true to the structures it was developed on. A new generation of southerly Rock bands have emerged due to the fact that the rotate of the millennium, especially Blackberry Smoke, proving that it isn’t around to lay down and die any type of time now. Below are the 30 song that developed Southern Rock.

The tape – The Night castle Drove Old Dixie down (1969)

Written through guitarist Robbie Robertson – a Canadian enthralled by the mythical southern – and also sung through Arkansas-born drummer Levon Helm, Dixie speak the story of the end of the Civil battle from the point of view of an southerly soldier: beaten and also tired, overtaken by the in march of progress.

Lynyrd Skynyrd – free Bird (1973)

The track that, more than any other, characterized the southern rock genre. The start of the track is virtually a strength ballad, as Ronnie van Zant asks the immortal question ‘If i leave here tomorrow, would certainly you still remember me?’ – a line that, after ~ the plane crash the took the resides of van Zant, Steve and also Cassie Gaines and roadie Dean Kilpatrick, took on so much irony and pathos that for year after the reunion that 1987 Johnny valve Zant refused to song it. The second part of the song is the glorious, almost apocalyptic etc crescendo, expanded from the song’s very first recording in 1973 to become the triumphant an answer to the song’s downbeat beginning. Do we psychic him? Hell yeah.

Allman Brothers tape – Ramblin’ man (1973)

One that the pioneering southern rock bands, it was the Allman Brothers’ mix the blues, country and jazz the forged their all at once sound. By the time they released Brothers and also Sisters in 1973 they’d already lost lead guitarist Duane Allman in a motorbike accident, and also had created themselves together the premier jam band through 1971’s epos Live at Filmore East. Brothers… consisted of two that the band’s ideal known shorter tunes in Jessica, (aka The design template To peak Gear), and also the effusive Ramblin’ Man, who chiming twin etc harmonies and also country-esque vocals sent out it to No.2 in the us chart and made that the most recognisable of every the band’s songs.

Little Feat – Dixie Chicken (1973)

Little Feat’s landmark third album witnessed Lowell George writing some of the finest songs the his career and also the band arising an oozy, denser sound that suited them perfectly. The rolling title monitor is a tough luck story of a wayward southerly Belle functioning the patrons in a Memphis hotel and also reads favor a native’s overview to the south.

Gregg Allman – Midnight rider (1973)

Released in ~ the same time the Allman Brothers’ Brothers and Sisters, Gregg Allman’s solo debut is one absolute happiness of one album. Softer 보다 his main band, it finds him delving into southern fried soul, his mournful cover of his very own Midnight Rider, originally consisted of on Idlewild South, is hauntingly evocative.

ZZ top – Le Grange (1973)

There’s a one-chord blues trick come this 1973 ZZ classic, i beg your pardon is musically motivated by a john Lee Hooker number, Boogie Chillen. However the vibe the the track is all ZZ. The storyline chin was influenced by a well known brothel which was just external the city of La Grange in Texas. Generally known together the Chicken Ranch, this ar of, erm, entertainment was immortalised still more in the movie The Best small Whorehouse In Texas – and closed as soon as the authorities obtained wind. Everything about this song screams Texas.

Black Oak Arkansas – Jim Dandy (1973)

Easily black color Oak Arkansas’ ideal known tune, even if a many of people don’t realise it’s black Oak, Jim Dandy is a sheathe of the LaVern Baker R&B classic that fits perfectly through frontman Jim ‘Dandy’ Mangrum’s wild onstage persona. Always a bit much more varied than a straightforward southerly band, the wild-eyed ethos is tho writ big all end the ebullient cover’s grooves.

Wet Willie – save On Smilin’ (1974)

Featuring the belting vocals the Jimmy hall (who featured ~ above Jeff Beck’s Grammy nominated Gets united state All In The End native 1985’s Flash), Wet Willie managed to absent as hard as Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers, but also infused their southerly sound with healthy and balanced doses of soul and funk come boot. Keep on Smilin’ to be the band’s breakthrough album, and the title monitor manages the seemingly unworkable feat of adding reggae into the southern rock mix. It does work, honest.

Grinderswitch – Pickin’ The Blues (1975)

At the bluesier end of the southerly scale and also woefully under valued, Grinderswitch were signed come legendary southerly label Capricorn, because that whom they recorded 1975’s Macon Tracks. Pickin’ The Blues is a stomping critical boogie and also was offered by the prominent British DJ john Peel as layout music because that his radio show.

Pure Prairie organization – 2 Lane Highway (1975)

With their Norman Rockwell cover arts featuring the hope looking cowboy character, Sad Luke, it comes as something the a surprise to hear the open breezy Two lane Highway begin up the album the the exact same name. Not a million miles from the Eagles in easy of touch or tone, this minor fight from 1975 was from the band who would go on to recruit one Vince Gill and then launch the as one of country’s greatest superstars.

Ram Jam – black color Betty (1977)

Ram Jam’s clever and dense sounding reworking the Leadbelly’s Black Betty (originally just 59 seconds long) walk on to it is in a huge international hit, back it to be met v criticism over its lyrical content. Tho a favourite on sports arena PAs America-wide.

Stillwater – Mindbender (1977)

The tape Cameron Crowe had to asking permission from prior to he can use their surname for his fictional band in Almost Famous. The initial Stillwater were developed in Georgia in the beforehand 70s and also Mindbender, the story that a talking guitar (no, really), was their best hit. Guitar heavy, understandably, through vocals and a talk box interplaying over a rolling, southern earlier beat.

The Outlaws – hurry Sundown (1977)

One could dip in anywhere in The Outlaws exceptional and lengthy back catalogue and also come up through a gem worthy of consists in any an option of great southern absent songs. They to be the very first band Clive Davis signed come the Arista brand after he observed them open for Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1974 after Ronnie valve Zant stated from the stage, “If you don’t authorize the Outlaws you’re the dumbest human I ever met”. Such patronage to be well deserved too, the band’s self-titled debut prove the an initial of might successful albums blending tough driving southern rock v countrified vocals. The title track from 1977’s Hurry Sundown, created by Eagles producer invoice Szymczyk, is an absolute corker, mix the late Hughie Thomasson’s gritty guitars with sweet vocal harmonies.

Atlanta Rhythm ar – large Time (1978)

Actually from Doraville in Georgia (which is close to Atlanta rather than in it), ARS were an additional fine southerly band who seldom troubled the UK. Large Time, the opening track from saturday album Champagne Jam, shied far from their usual radio familiar sheen to load a major southern punch, referencing your credentials in its lyrics ‘We play Macon, GA with Lynyrd Skynyrd, it to be a rock’n’roll hoedown/Van Zant permit that cost-free Bird fly, don’t you understand he wasn’t foolin’ around’.

Blackfoot – Highway track (1979)

Contemporaries that Lynyrd Skynyrd, v whom Blackfoot frontman Rickie Medlocke had drummed through in the very early job (and would later rejoin in the 90s) Blackfoot constantly walked a tougher line than many southern rock bands and benefited from the early 80s metal explosion to make inroads in the UK. 1979’s Strikes is probably the band’s best ever album, from which the likes the Train, Train, featuring Medlocke’s grandfather Shorty top top harmonica, and the an extensive epic Highway Song stand out. The latter rates together the band’s finest ever song; Blackfoot’s Free Bird moment, if girlfriend will, through its lyrics telling the story of a tough rockin’ band on the road: ‘Well, an additional day, an additional dollar, after ~ I’ve sang and hollered/Oh, it’s my way of living, and also I can’t change a thing/Another city is drawing near. Oh, baby, i wish you to be here.’

Charlie Daniels band – The adversary Went under To Georgia (1979)

Although other of a novelty hit, getting to No.3 in the States and No.14 in brothers (something that a rarity for most southern bands, it should be said), the Charlie Daniels Band’s southerly rock credentials space without question. Offered a slightly much more country sound thanks to Daniels’ vivid fiddle playing, The devil Went down To Georgia remains a great rousing anthem and fine beer drinking tune to boot. Daniels’ hard-driven right wing politics may not sit easy with UK listeners, however his music still it s okay the feet tapping.

Alabama – mine Home’s In Alabama (1980)

The signature tune for this quartet native – accordingly enough –Alabama, to be written during their time when they were gigging under the name ‘Wildcountry’ and also working Myrtle Beach’s Bowery meet in south Carolina. “One fan claimed ‘That’s the ideal southern rock song I’ve ever heard in my life and I’m from Tennessee,’” recalled singer Randy Owen of My Home’s In Alabama. The track offered them your name, and also the tape – who never ever really meant lot in the UK – their greatest hit. The was also the strongest example of their southerly rock side.

Rossington-Collins tape – Don’t Misunderstand Me (1980)

Formed by Allen Collins and also Gary Rossington after the horrific waiting crash that finished the initial Lynyrd Skynyrd line-up, the Rossington-Collins tape debut album, 1980’s Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere was an practically instant success thanks to the hit single, Don’t Misunderstand Me. Dale Krantz’s (who would later marry Rossington) hypnotic vocal and also the acquainted southern pair guitars created an irresistible mix and a radio smash.

.38 distinct – Wild Eyed southerly Boys (1981)

Fronted by the so late Ronnie van Zant’s younger brother Donnie, by the moment .38 Special gained round come releasing Wild Eyed southern Boys they’d currently shifted your sound away from the difficult driving country rock of early albums, including a radio-friendly sheen to their sound. The title track (written by Survivor’s Jim Peterik), captured the rowdy significance of their original sound.

Molly hatchet – loss Of The Peacemakers (1983)

Almost every southern rock band has actually gone searching for its Free Bird in an attempt to emulate Lynyrd Skynyrd’s genre-defining masterpiece: Blackfoot’s Highway Song or Doc Holliday’s Song for The Outlaw. Molly Hatchet had actually Fall the The Peacemakers – a triple guitar attack that build from a gentle, melodic intro prior to building right into a rip roaring guitar-centric finale.

Georgia Satellites – store Your hand To yourself (1986)

With their tongues planted steady in your cheeks, the Georgia Satellites biggest hit to be one of plenty of highlights on your self-titled debut album exit in 1986. A phenomenal live tape if a tiny frayed in ~ the edge (it to be no surprise to uncover the band covering a stick Stewart track on the album too), the Satellites’ paean come commitment and relationships is still an untarnished gem.

The Kentucky Headhunters – Dumas pedestrian (1989)

Featuring both the father and also uncle to Black stone Cherry drummer man Fred Young within your ranks (indeed Black stone Cherry rehearse in the Kentucky Headhunters’ old rehearsal room), this Kentucky-based act discovered favour in America with their jaunty southern, nation rock, typified by this bouncy opener from your 1989 debut.

The black color Crowes – Remedy (1992)

Having appeared in 1990 with the southern soul of Shake her Money Maker – which boasted their rousing cover of Otis Redding’s Hard come Handle – the band spread out their wings on 1992’s follow-up The southern Harmony and also Muscial Companion, including southern rock and Faces-style boogie to your repertoire. Remedy, complete with its gospel backing vocals, need to rate as one of the finest songs the band ever before produced. A perfect instance of to update an old heritage for a modern-day day audience.

Raging Slab – Pearly (1993)

The band the Beavis and also Butt-head once defined as “like Skynyrd, but cool”, Raging Slab’s defiantly heavy take on southerly rock has actually never been bettered or more typified 보다 here. Native the 1993 album through the misleading title, Dynamite Monster Boogie Concert (it’s a studio album), this is a thundering romp that is as great an indicator as any of what can happen if Metallica went country.

Drive through Truckers – Ronnie and also Neil (2001)

A southerly rock opera? Indeed, that’s what Athens, Georgia band Drive-By Truckers to be aiming because that on their third album, no uncoincidentally title Southern absent Opera. This standout track offers the rise and demise that Lynyrd Skynyrd as a metaphor for the boom and bust that America’s south during the 70s. Ronnie and also Neil – southerly Rock Opera’s stand out track – highlights the an alleged feud between Skynyrd’s Ronnie van Zant and Neil Young end the latter’s Southern Man and also the former’s riposte, Sweet residence Alabama.

Shooter Jennings – electric Rodeo (2006)

The boy of nation outlaw Waylon Jennings (whom he portrayed in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line), Shooter’s original band Stargunn took pleasure in a reputation together a mix of southern rock and also Gun N’ Roses form fare. Going solo, he employed a sound an ext akin to a mix of southerly rock and his father’s outlaw country, ideal typified through this rowdy southern rocker, the title monitor of his 2nd album.

Van Zant – My sort Of country (2007)

Johnny Cash, AC/DC, Skynyrd and also .38 unique all obtain name-checked top top the title monitor of the van Zant brothers’ 4th album. Back .38’s Donnie and Skynyrd’s Johnny have found favour v Stateside country music television in current years, your sound is pure modern day southern rock, together you’d expect from two members that the genre’s an initial dynasty.

Clutch – Electric problem (2007)

Clutch’s take on Mississippi Fred McDowell song Fred’s worried Life Blues is transformed into something denser than molasses, thundering along and buoyed up by shrill to explode of harmonica (courtesy of five Horse Johnson’s Eric Oblander) and also vocalist Neil Fallon’s man yelps of, ‘Bang, bang, bang/Vamanos, vamanos’. It’s thrilling, quick paced and over as well soon. Uncover it on Clutch’s From Beale Street to Oblivion album.

Kid rock – all Summer long (2007)

Robert James Ritchie definitely polarises opinion and his early, belligerent mix of rap, country and also metal rubbed an ext than a few rock fans up the dorn way. But 2077’s Rock’N’Roll Jesus gotten in the us chart in ~ No. 1, showing he’d absolutely stemmed his current career downturn. This shrewd mash increase of Skynyrd’s Sweet home Alabama and also Warren Zevon’s Werewolves the London highlight’s his unique vision and also is typical of his much more recent southern rock sound.

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Blackberry exhilaration – Ain’t lot Left the Me (2012)

If anyone embodies the classic Southern Rock method today, climate it’s Atlanta’s Blackberry Smoke. Native the country-fried guitars to frontman Charlie Starr’s undiluted Georgia twang, lock invoke the heart of classic Skynyrd and give the a modern spin. After ~ spending a decade building up an impressive audience, Ain’t much Left that Me is the tune that broke them v to a more comprehensive rock audience. That is mix the low-slung guitars and also barroom piano ticks the ideal boxes, but like Skynyrd there’s love to go with the muscle. Southern Rock is safe in your hands.

Have us missed your favourite southern Rock song? let us recognize in the comments below…

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