http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/34ec88636d7ed81a757d19de2902826616d1ce8a.jpg Legend

Lynyrd Skynyrd


Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 0 0
December 3, 1987

This is the bottom of the Lynyrd Skynyrd barrel: what did you expect ten years after the band's plane went down? But even the least of its work provokes some interest. The Jacksonville, Florida, band was the most consistent of the Southern hard rockers, and the late Ronnie Van Zant was an astute writer and crafty singer who expanded on the Allman Brothers' rambling themes and riffs.

Not all of Legend is "new": two of the nine tracks were released as B sides in the band's lifetime, and a third, an admittedly potent "Simple Man," is a live version of a song from its first album. At its worst, though, Legend is nearly as edgeless as the version of Lynyrd Skynyrd that, led by Johnny Van Zant, paraded around arenas this fall. The laughable "When You Got Good Friends" spouts empty-headed regional chauvinism with enough stridency to make "Sweet Home Alabama" sound shy.

Still, there is some point to scraping this barrel. Ronnie Van Zant's growls spit life into the otherwise sputtering Chuck Berry homage "Sweet Little Missy," and "Truck Drivin' Man" is a welcome "What's Your Name"-style shouter, even if the guitar solo is a bit buried and Van Zant's vocal somewhat weaker than his caustic best. More restrained, almost overheard, is "Four Walls of Raiford," an I'm-in-jail ballad that doesn't suffer from the fake heroism with which such numbers are usually stuffed.

There are three new songs on Legend worth hearing, but don't search this out before you buy any Lynyrd Skynyrd album released while the band was intact. Legend isn't wretched, but if you want to rediscover one of the sturdiest American bands of the Seventies, there are half a dozen better places to start.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Bird on a Wire”

    Leonard Cohen | 1969

    While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

    More Song Stories entries »