The Only Time Neil Young Performed Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s timeless hit ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ caused quite the tension regardless of its undeniable success as the track became the band’s highest-charting single by the time it was released. The reason behind its controversy was due to the name of another artist, Neil Young, who was directly named in the lyrics.
While the story behind that incident is previously covered, we’re here today to remind you of the feud between Neil Young and Lynyrd Skynyrd members following the release of their track and the time and reason Young performed the song despite the line that refers to him.
Lynyrd Skynyrd Mentioned Neil Young In ‘Sweet Home Alabama’
When Neil Young released his third studio album named ‘After the Gold Rush’ on September 19, 1970, one of the tracks on the album raised many eyebrows. The song named ‘Southern Man’ had problematic lyrics as the line, ‘I saw cotton and I saw black, tall white mansions and little shacks / Southern Man, when will you pay them back?’ sounds racist.
To compensate for his mistake, Young released another song named ‘Alabama’ in his fourth studio album, ‘Harvest.’ This song, as well as the ‘Southern Man,’ inspired Lynyrd Skynyrd to react to Young. This decision gave birth to a line in their monumental song, ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’
In the lyrics of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ which was released on June 24, 1974, Young is name-checked in the line of ‘Well, I heard Mister Young sing about her / Well, I heard ol’ Neil put her down / Well, I hope Neil Young will remember / A Southern man don’t need him around anyhow.’
Neil Young Once Performed ‘Sweet Home Alabama’
While these types of direct confrontations may ignite a heated feud between two artists, their dispute didn’t last long as Neil Young eventually admitted regretting his controversial lyrics. Furthermore, he also stated that he’s happy to be a part of ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’
In fact, Neil Young even performed the track one time. He played their original tune at a memorial event on November 12, 1977, at Bicentennial Park, Miami, Florida, for the three Lynyrd Skynyrd band members who were killed in a tragic plane crash in 1977, including Ronnie Van Zant, Steven Gaines, and Cassie Gaines.
You can listen to Young’s performance below.