The late Ronnie Van Zant would have turned 73 today (January 15th). The Lynyrd Skynyrd response to a couple of Neil Young songs that were critical of the American South. were some lyrics in “Sweet Home Alabama” Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington says that the late Ronnie Van Zant’s lyrics to “Sweet Home Alabama” were certainly inspired by Neil Young, but also celebrated some of the things he liked about the state at the time.
“It was kind of a cut back to him ’cause ‘Southern Man’ cut down the South and ‘Alabama’ and all those songs. So we wanted to say, ‘Hey, you’re from Canada, what do you know about the South, anyway?’ You know? And Ronnie put it in there kinda as a joke. But everything else is real, and the part about Governor Wallace and all this, when he was running for President and everybody hated him but us, we just kinda put it all in there and it turned out like it did.”