The rich, lengthy, and sometimes painful history of Lynyrd Skynyrd is not only one of the true epic tales of Southern rock, but in all of rock & roll itself. The early rise to fame, the tragic loss, and eventual rebirth of the group has been well documented over and over again in the form of box sets, greatest-hits collections, and deluxe reissues. But this sampler takes the best of the best and puts it all into one disc. The greatest moments of Skynyrd's career – "Freebird," "Sweet Home Alabama," and "What's Your Name" – are all here. But what makes Family truly special is the branching out into the side projects like .38 Special, Rossington Collins Band, and Van Zant to name but a few. This might not be the most comprehensive collection available, but it is certainly one of the more enjoyable and easily accessible.
Lynyrd Skynyrd's 2000 compilation All Time Greatest Hits suffers from the same ailments that plague many compilations of its time, but there is one problem in particular that hurts it: instead of offering all of the "all time greatest hits" on one disc, the compilers pulled their punches, overlooking a few big songs while occasionally substituting live or acoustic versions for the original studio versions. That means that this is a Skynyrd compilation without the famed original recording of "Free Bird" – a live version is here instead. It doesn't really matter that it's a good version, taken from 1976's One More from the Road, or that the live version actually charted in the Top 40; nor does it matter that "All I Can Do Is Write About It" is a good acoustic version originally released on the eponymous 1991 box set, because this is a collection made for a general audience. It should, therefore, have the versions that a general audience knows best. Apart from that, and the usual nitpicking over songs that should have been included ("Workin' for MCA," "Don't Ask Me No Questions," etc.), this remains a solid collection, containing most of the Skynyrd material that a casual follower could want.
One of the finest of the Southern rock bands, Lynyrd Skynyrd's 1974 album follows the success of "Free Bird" and "Gimme Three Steps" from their 1973 debut and features their biggest hit single, "Sweet Home Alabama", an answer song to Neil Young's "Southern Man" and "Alabama". The song reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in August 1974. Second Helping also featured "Don't Ask Me No Questions," "Workin' for MCA," and "Call Me the Breeze," the latter of which includes an acclaimed piano solo…
Gimme Back My Bullets is Lynyrd Skynyrd's fourth studio album. It was released on February 2, 1976. It reached # 20 on the U.S. albums chart. The album was certified Gold on 1/20/1981. The album was originally titled Ain't No Dowd About It, in tribute to the producer Tom Dowd, whom the band idolized. It remains the only studio album by the precrash lineup to have not yet reached platinum or higher in the United States. However, it did include the hits "Gimme Back My Bullets", "Searching", "Double Trouble", and "Cry for the Bad Man".
Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote the book on Southern rock with their first album, so it only made sense that they followed it for their second album, aptly titled Second Helping. Sticking with producer Al Kooper (who, after all, discovered them), the group turned out a record that replicated all the strengths of the original, but was a little tighter and a little more professional. It also revealed that the band, under the direction of songwriter Ronnie Van Zant, was developing a truly original voice. Of course, the band had already developed their own musical voice, but it was enhanced considerably by Van Zant's writing, which was at turns plainly poetic, surprisingly clever, and always revealing. Though Second Helping isn't as hard a rock record as Pronounced, it's the songs that make the record. "Sweet Home Alabama" became ubiquitous, yet it's rivaled by such terrific songs as the snide, punkish "Workin' for MCA," the Southern groove of "Don't Ask Me No Questions," the affecting "The Ballad of Curtis Loew," and "The Needle and the Spoon," a drug tale as affecting as their rival Neil Young's "Needle and the Damage Done," but much harder rocking.
Second Helping brought Lynyrd Skynyrd mass success and for the follow-up they offered Nuthin' Fancy. It was a self-deprecating title for a record that may have offered more of the same, at least on the surface, but was still nearly peerless as a Southern rock record. The biggest difference with this record is that the band, through touring, has become heavier and harder, fitting right in with the heavy album rock bands of the mid-'70s. The second notable difference is that Ronnie Van Zant may have been pressed for material, since there are several songs here that are just good generic rockers. But he and Skynyrd prove that what makes a great band great is how they treat generic material…
Gold & Platinum was compiled by Gary Rossington and Allen Collins, the two surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, after the band’s tragic plane crash of 1977.