The song that has basically saved me. This generation’s music is the same old rap about the same old thing with new rappers, new names on the song, new lyrics... But all relate to the same thing. I’ve never been a big person on rap music because it never really appealed to me. For starters, you can barely understand what half of the rappers are saying in their music, the songs/raps are relatable but they're all the same in the end.
I like country because country has true meaning and true feeling behind their songs. But, there’s one group that you wouldn’t consider country, but rock, that I have to thank for one song in specific.
Lynyrd Skynyrd, I used to hear Free Bird on the radio growing up and never really thought about lyrics until September 30th, 2011, when I had lost my uncle and my brother had made a tribute using your song. It’s been six years since I lost my uncle to alcoholism and to this day, I still watch that tribute video and still listen to Free Bird frequently when I’m feeling down or missing my uncle. Growing up, I would listen to the song solely because my brother had used it and it reminded me of my uncle. Well, as it’s been six years now, I’m 19, and have grown up and matured a lot since then.
I now interpret your lyrics and know a true meaning behind them, something I didn’t six years ago. Listening to your song all those years ago made me sad because at that age, I never really understood why God took my best friend. Listening to it now? A completely different story. I know that if my uncle had still been here today, things definitely would not be the same. He’d probably still be drinking and suffering with it to this day if God had not said, "It’s your time now, I’m bringing you home."
Listening and interpreting your lyrics have made me realize my uncle is in such a better place and no longer suffering anymore... He’s a free bird. He’s happy now and not suffering from alcoholism anymore. You may ask why I’m thanking you, but it’s because I’ve struggled with the loss of my uncle since it happened. I never really came to terms with the fact of him dying. I’ve always thought it’s just a bad dream and I’ll walk into my Grandma’s kitchen and magically see him sitting there eating cinnamon toast crunch telling me to grab a bowl and eat with him at night.
I never realized how bad my uncle’s drinking was until after his death and when you said, “Thought this feeling I can’t change.” I now realize that my uncle couldn’t change how he felt when he drank, he felt on top of the world, he felt like he needed it to be happy and he couldn’t change that feeling because he was too far into it.
So, in the meaning of all of this, I would like to thank you for making a song (yes, way before I was born) but making it so sentimental and heartfelt with your choice of lyrics to where it can mean so much to one person even though it’s not a song from my “generation.” I will cherish this song forever. Your song essentially "saved" me in a way because I never got to say goodbye to my uncle. The last time I saw him alive, I got mad at him because he was barely talking to me and just had a blank stare on his face. I've always felt guilty for walking out of the house that night to go to practice without saying "I love you" because I was mad he didn't respond to an accomplishment I had made.
Free Bird has made me generally interpret things in a different way and has taught me, even more, to never take things for granted especially your family and the time you get to spend with them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your song not only inspires me but in a sense makes me feel closer to my uncle because when I listen to it, I can sense he’s okay up there in the sky and looking down on me.