We’re back with another episode of Truck Driver Songs. It’s a look back at some amazing songs that do one thing: sing the praises of the North American truck driver. We have songs that crush the charts with lyrics that sing the praises of truckers everywhere, from the 50s to the latest rock and country hits. We know you love them, so why not see them all in action?
This week we feature one of the biggest southern rock anthems of all time, courtesy of the biggest, baddest southern rock outfits in history – Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American rock band best known for popularizing the Southern hard rock genre during the 1970s. Originally formed in 1964 as the “Noble Five” in Jacksonville, Florida, the band rose to worldwide recognition on the basis of its driving live performances and signature tunes “Sweet Home Alabama,” and “Free Bird.”
In 1972 the band (Van Zant, Collins, Rossington, Burns, Wilkeson, and Powell) was discovered by musician, songwriter, and producer Al Kooper of Blood, Sweat, and Tears, who had attended one of their shows at a club in Atlanta, GA. Their first album was to be distributed and supported by MCA Records and was released August 13, 1973,the album featured the hit song “Free Bird,” which received national airplay, eventually reaching No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
At that point, Van Zant and the boys never looked back. They went to absolute superstardom within a few years and kept going. On October 20, 1977, just three days after the release of Street Survivors, and five shows into their most successful headlining tour to date, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s chartered Convair CV-300 ran out of fuel near the end of their flight from Greenville, South Carolina, where they had just performed at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium, to LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Though the pilots attempted an emergency landing on a small airstrip, the plane crashed in a forest in Gillsburg, Mississippi.Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray were killed on impact; the other band members (Collins, Rossington, Wilkeson, Powell, Pyle, and Hawkins) and road crew suffered serious injuries.
Following the crash and the ensuing press, their current album, Street Survivors became the band’s second platinum album and reached No. 5 on the U.S. album chart. The single “What’s Your Name” reached No. 13 on the single airplay charts in January 1978.
The song we’re featuring here is called “Call Me the Breeze” off of their album “Second Helping” from 1974. The album went double platinum due to some of their strongest radio hits like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “I Need You.” It’s a raging slab of southern rock that still holds up today due to the massive 3 guitar attack, and complex arrangements that keep fans coming back and hearing something new each time.
We love it and we know you will too, truck drivers. Enjoy!
This video is a live performance the band turned in for a BBC popular music show called The Old Grey Whistle Test.
This video is the regular album cut that features all the lyrics from the famous song.