When is a cover song better than the original? Only you can decide. This week Built To Spill takes on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird.” MAGNET’s Edward Fairchild pulls the pin. Take cover!
This is the most requested song in the history of recorded music. On Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1976 live album, One More For The Road, there are shouts for “Freebird” throughout the band’s entire set. When the group reaches the second encore, singer Ronnie Van Zant jokingly asks the crowd, “What song is it you wanna hear?” and the entire arena shouts back almost in unison, “Freebird”! In the subsequent 30 years, a tired joke emerged with concertgoers ironically shouting “Freebird” as a request (at almost every concert by every band), knowing that the likelihood of anyone taking on the anthem would be slim to none. I would like to have seen the look on the dolt’s face who shouted it during the encore of a 2001 Built To Spill concert when the band first ripped into it. Of course, it probably only encouraged him.