Rock Flashback: On Tour With Lynryd Skynyrd

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(Getty Images/Mark Wilson)

(Getty Images/Mark Wilson)

We love those exhaustive tour listings we often find on the Internet, whether they’re officially sanctioned by the bands themselves or a labor of love by dedicated fans. They provide a look back in rock-n-roll time that nothing else can provide. Today, we’ll visit the early days of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Lynyrd Skynyrd[/lastfm].

The Southern Rock Resource site has a Skynyrd chronology that starts, more or less, with the release of the Pronounced album in the summer of 1973. Weeks later, they played a club date in Springfield, Missouri, with the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]New York Dolls[/lastfm], which seems like a bit of a mismatch to us now. Later that fall, they would open for [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]ZZ Top[/lastfm], the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Blues Project[/lastfm], and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Focus[/lastfm] — a show in Atlanta that went on even after Focus cancelled. For 2 1/2 hectic weeks in November and December 1973, they opened [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]the Who[/lastfm]‘s Quadrophenia tour — a major opportunity for any band.

In 1974, the band toured almost continuously from January through July. Second Helping came out in the middle of the run, which saw them opening for [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Black Sabbath[/lastfm] in New York in February, sharing a bill with [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Jimmy Buffett[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]the Outlaws[/lastfm] in April,  and with [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Elvin Bishop[/lastfm] and the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Marshall Tucker Band[/lastfm] in California in May. They played one of those fabulous all-day ballpark festivals in June, appearing with the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Beach Boys[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Joe Walsh[/lastfm], and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]REO Speedwagon[/lastfm] at Cleveland Stadium in Ohio. A month later, they played the Ozark Music Festival in Missouri with [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Bob Seger[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Bruce Springsteen[/lastfm], and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]America[/lastfm] — the latter most likely the headliner.

In September 1974, with “Sweet Home Alabama” on the radio, Skynyrd embarked on an intense American tour. They played 25 shows in 30 days, including a string of 12 straight nights that started in Louisiana and Georgia and went as far afield as Ohio and Wisconsin before concluding in Kentucky. In December, they hopped to Europe for the first time, opening shows for [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Queen[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Humble Pie[/lastfm], and sharing a bill with [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Golden Earring[/lastfm]. And then came 1975 — a year of nearly-continuous gigging — but that’s a story for another time. Or you can check it out for yourself at the Southern Rock Resource site.

The clip below is purported to be from the May 1974 California show with Elvin Bishop and Marshall Tucker. “This is a new single we have out . . . it’s about the great state of Alabama.”

Experience more Rock Flashbacks.

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