(Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd) is the debut album from Lynyrd Skynyrd, released in 1973. The album features several of the band’s most well-known songs, including “Gimme Three Steps,” “Simple Man,” “Tuesday’s Gone” and “Free Bird,” which launched the band to national stardom.
Bassist Leon Wilkeson left the band early in the album’s recording sessions after playing on only two tracks. Strawberry Alarm Clock guitarist Ed King was asked to fill in for Wilkeson on bass during the remaining sessions, as Wilkeson had already written many of the bass parts. This left Skynyrd with only six official members at the time of the album’s release. Not long after, King was made a member of the band so it could replicate the triple-guitar lead during live performances. Wilkeson returned to the band toward the end of the recording sessions. The album was certified gold on December 18, 1974, platinum and double platinum on July 21, 1987, by the RIAA. The album also peaked at 27 in the Billboard 200 in 1975.
The album was re-released in 2001 as an expanded version with bonus tracks, including demos of many of the songs on the album. Sales through 2014 were an estimated 2 million units internationally.
The cover photograph was taken on Main Street in Jonesboro, Georgia and shows, from left to right, Leon Wilkeson (seated), Billy Powell (seated), Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington (seated), Bob Burns, Allen Collins and Ed King. With Ed King’s death of lung cancer on August 22, 2018, guitarist Gary Rossington (seated third from left) is the only one currently alive from that famous picture.
Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd immediately put the band on the rock-and-roll map. In 2003 Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album number 403 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. (by wikipedia)
The Allman Brothers came first, but Lynyrd Skynyrd epitomized Southern rock. The Allmans were exceptionally gifted musicians, as much bluesmen as rockers. Skynyrd was nothing but rockers, and they were Southern rockers to the bone. This didn’t just mean that they were rednecks, but that they brought it all together — the blues, country, garage rock, Southern poetry — in a way that sounded more like the South than even the Allmans. And a large portion of that derives from their hard, lean edge, which was nowhere more apparent than on their debut album, Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd. Produced by Al Kooper, there are few records that sound this raw and uncompromising, especially records by debut bands. Then again, few bands sound this confident and fully formed with their first record. Perhaps the record is stronger because it’s only eight songs, so there isn’t a wasted moment, but that doesn’t discount the sheer strength of each song. Consider the opening juxtaposition of the rollicking “I Ain’t the One” with the heartbreaking “Tuesday’s Gone.”
Two songs couldn’t be more opposed, yet Skynyrd sounds equally convincing on both. If that’s all the record did, it would still be fondly regarded, but it wouldn’t have been influential. The genius of Skynyrd is that they un-self-consciously blended album-oriented hard rock, blues, country, and garage rock, turning it all into a distinctive sound that sounds familiar but thoroughly unique. On top of that, there’s the highly individual voice of Ronnie Van Zant, a songwriter who isn’t afraid to be nakedly sentimental, spin tales of the South, or to twist macho conventions with humor. And, lest we forget, while he does this, the band rocks like a motherf*cker. It’s the birth of a great band that birthed an entire genre with this album. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)
Bob Burns (drums)
Allen Collins (guitar)
Ed King (bass, guitar on 06.)
Billy Powell (keyboards)
Gary Rossington (guitar, slide-guitar)
Ronnie van Zant (vocals)
Bobbye Hall (percussion on 03. + 05.)
Steve Katz (harmonica on 06.)
Al Kooper (Roosevelt Gook) – bass, mellotron and background vocals on 02., mandolin, bass drum on 06., “Mississippi Kid,” organ on 04., 07. + 08., mellotron on 08.)
01. I Ain’t The One (Rossington/v.Zant) 3.53
02. Tuesday’s Gone (Collins/v.Zant) 7.30
03. Gimme Three Steps (Collins/v.Zant) 4.28
04. Simple Man (Rossington/v.Zant) 5.56
05. Things Goin’ On (Rossington/v.Zant)t 4.58
06. Mississippi Kid (Burns/Kooper/v.Zant) 3.55
07. Poison Whiskey (King(v.Zant) 3.13
08. Free Bird (Collins/v.Zant) 9.07
Ed King (September 14, 1949 – August 22, 2018)
Ed King, the Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist who joined the band in 1972 to give the Southern rock group its iconic three-guitar sound, died Wednesday in Nashville. He was 68. A cause of death was not specified, though King had been battling lung cancer and had recently been hospitalized for the disease.
A message on King’s Facebook confirmed his death: “It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of Ed King who died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee on August 22nd, 2018. We thank his many friends and fans for their love and support of Ed during his life and career.”
A California native, King was a founding member of the psychedelic Sixties band Strawberry Alarm Clock, known for their hit “Incense and Peppermints.” He offered to join Skynyrd when, opening for the band at the Jacksonville, Florida, bar the Comic Book Club in 1968, he heard them rehearsing the song “Need All My Friends.” It wasn’t until 1972, however, when King would sign on with Skynyrd, temporarily replacing bassist Leon Wilkeson and then becoming a full-fledged member as third guitarist.
King played on the band’s first three albums: 1973’s (Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd), 1974’s Second Helping and 1975’s Nuthin’ Fancy. He most famously co-wrote Second Helping‘s “Sweet Home Alabama” – that’s him counting off “1, 2, 3” in the song’s intro – which, along with “Free Bird,” has become synonymous with the group.
After a dust-up with singer Ronnie Van Zant, King, tired of the Skynyrd drama and propensity for fighting, exited the band in 1975, detailing the incident in the superb new documentary If I Leave Here Tomorrow: A Film About Lynyrd Skynyrd.
“I’m the hippie from Southern California. I’m not digging the violence part,” King said, recounting how a broken string at a show in Pittsburgh earned him the wrath of the mercurial Van Zant. “Ronnie and my guitar roadie who changed my strings were thrown in jail in Ann Arbor. They didn’t arrive … until 10 minutes before we went on. I had to play on old strings and I broke two strings during ‘Free Bird.’ After, Ronnie was riding me, and a lightbulb went off and I said, ‘That’s it.’ I went back to my room, packed up my stuff and left.”
King is a highlight of If I Leave Here Tomorrow, offering keen firsthand insight into the Southern band as an outsider from California. On the album cover for Pronounced, King is pictured far right, a bit detached from the group.
Guitarist Gary Rossington, the lone original member of the Lynyrd Skynyrd that tours today, quipped on King’s aloof, business-minded nature in the documentary. “He’d stop and buy $100 worth of Slim Jims and have him in a briefcase and, driving an hour or two, you get hungry, he’d sell them to us and triple the price,” he said.
Following King’s death, Rossington released a statement. “I’ve just found out about Ed’s passing and I’m shocked and saddened,” he said. “Ed was our brother, and a great songwriter and guitar player. I know he will be reunited with the rest of the boys in Rock and Roll Heaven. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.” (by Joseph Hudak/Rolling Stone, August 23, 2018)