In art, as in life, some things are not always what they seem.so it is with the given song Lynnard Skinnard Top 30 in the US in 1975.
The song has long been considered an anti-gun protest song. Actually, it’s more complex and subtle than that.
Saturday Night Special It’s a protest song with a warning. In the lyrics written and sung by Ronnie Van Zant, the leading man of the band’s first great era, there’s a question that goes straight to the heart of American gun culture: ‘Man, why don’t we just throw them to the bottom of the ocean?‘ But the truth is, Ronnie Van Zant was not an anti-gun campaigner.
Instead, he owned a .22 caliber pistol at the time he wrote the song. He used it while hunting for rabbits and squirrels in the woods near the band’s hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. What Ronnie advocates in the song is greater control over illegal handguns—specifically a gun that was freely available on the black market in the U.S. in the 1970s for as little as $20; a type commonly known as Saturday Night Special of Guns. As Ronnie says in the chorus of the song: ‘saturday night special sir, get a blue and cold bucket / no use but put a man six feet in the hole.
47 years later Saturday Night Special Released since the plane crash that killed Ronnie and five other members of Skynyrd and their entourage, at 45, only one member of the seven-member lineup that recorded the song remained in the band: guitarist and co-founder Gary Rossington. Guitarist Alan Collins, bassist Leon Wilkerson and keyboardist Billy Powell have passed away. Drummer Artimus Pyle left the band in 1991. Ed King, guitarist who composed music for the band Saturday Night Specialleft for the second and last time in 1996 and died in 2018.
For Roseington, Saturday Night Special One of the definitive Skynyrd songs. “One of our best,” he said.for Johnny Van ZantRonnie’s younger brother, became the singer of Skynyrd when the band reunited in 1987, a prophetic and poetic song.
“Ronnie is a poet for ordinary people,” Johnny said. “God gave him a gift to preach to people. People listened. And what he said in this song, his vision was right.”
Saturday Night Special Written in the summer of 1974, when Skynyrd was touring the United States. One day Ed King played a heavy staccato riff for Ronnie. It sounded “truly vile and ominous,” in Roseington’s words. Ronnie wrote a lyric to match, which includes the creepy vignettes of sexual betrayal and drunken gambling leading to a fatal shooting.
“That’s a strong message from Ronnie,” Roseington said. “Those cheap pistols aren’t good for hunting or anything – they’re just for killing people. These guns are easy to find. We’re from a small town on the west side of Jacksonville. There’s a lot of bad guys out there, and every week you hear about people being shot Shoot or be killed.”
Immediately after the song was written, the band recorded it as requested by record label MCA.That summer, Skynyrd, with sweet home alabamaand record company executives are keen to profit from the success. Saturday Night Special Recorded so fast that it could be included in the soundtrack of the 1974 film longest yarda comedy about a prison football team starring Burt Reynolds.
The song was recorded at Studio 1 in Doraville, Georgia, where Skynyrd produced their first two albums between shows. This is their first recording with drummer Artimus Pyle, who recently joined the band in place of Bob Burns.
“It’s exciting,” Rosington said, “there’s such fresh blood in the band. We’re definitely not wasting any time cutting that song. It’s more or less done live, with just some lead guitar. And the dubbing of the vocals. That’s how everyone recorded it back then.”
According to Roseington, all groups were more or less straight when they were working on the track. Skynyrd had a reputation as an alcoholic, rabid band, but in the studio, they controlled it a little.
“We work hard,” Roseington said. “You can’t get drunk in the studio because you can’t perform. You’re going to be sloppy. A lot happened in those days — drugs and alcohol — but it wasn’t really on the record.”
what Skynyrd was created with Saturday Night Special It’s a track with as heavy a voice as its lyrics. Most of its power comes from Artemis Pyre. “I hit that snare drum as hard as I could,” the drummer later recalled. The three guitarists—Rossington, King, and Collins—worked wonderfully together. But it was Ronnie Van Zant, stronger than anyone else, with what he said and the way he said it. There is no show. That was never his style. But in his measured expression is the cool authority of a man who always speaks the truth of what he sees.
Saturday Night Special It was released as a single in May 1975, nine months after recording. This is the title song of Skynyrd’s third album, Nuthin’ Fancy, published two months ago.Many years later, it will also appear in the 2005 remake longest yardin which Adam Sandler played the role of Burt Reynolds, while Reynolds himself played a different, older character.
Lynyrd Skynyrd still playing Saturday Night Special In almost every live show. “It’s a song we all love,” says Johnny Van Zant. “And I think it’s more important now than when Ronnie wrote it. When I was a kid, growing up, we always had guns around our house. My family, we were hunters. But guns scared me, Because I know they will only be used for one thing.
“Every time I sing Saturday Night Special,” Johnny added, “I felt power in those words Ronnie wrote. America has too many guns. My brother knew what he was talking about. “
Lynyrd Skynyrd is currently touring the United States. For dates and tickets, Visit the Lynyrd Skynyrd website.