4 Eternal Classic Southern Rock Songs

There is something so charming and distinct about classic southern rock. The sonic lovechild of rock and roll and country music, the genre boasts a twang and a sense of the heartland that other sorts of rock music often don’t. It’s what gives the music its flair, it’s appeal. It’s different than traditional rock, different from the stuff of the British Invasion.

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And some of that music will assuredly go on to live forever in the hearts of music fans. Way past when the songwriters have gone and left the world, their tunes will carry on in the headphones and stereos of audiences for generations. Here below, we wanted to dive into four such offerings.

[RELATED: 4 Eternal Classic Rock Songs from the 1970s]

“Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Hailing from Jacksonville, Florida, Lynyrd Skynyrd is the quintessential southern classic rock band in many ways. They have the attitude, deep southern roots, and a plethora of hits. “Simple Man,” which was released on the 1973 debut studio album (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd), features a plucked electric guitar riff that blends into a bright back beat and lead singer Ronnie Van Zant’s brilliant voice. The song itself is about remaining true to your roots, the core of yourself. Don’t stray into the wide world of temptations and you’ll be alright. It’s a down-home bit of advice from a down-home band. Sings Van Zant,

Mama told me when I was young
“Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say
And if you do this it’ll help you
Some sunny day”
Oh, yeah

Oh, take your time, don’t live too fast
Troubles will come and they will pass
You’ll find a woman, yeah, and you’ll find love
And don’t forget son there is someone up above

“Can’t You See” by The Marshall Tucker Band

Released on the South Carolina band’s 1973 self-titled debut LP, “Can’t You See” showcases the southern classic rock drawl and growl that distinguishes the genre. It’s a foghorn played through a broken amplifier. It’s the sound of family values shot through a homemade cannon. The song itself is about heartbreak—or, more specifically, about getting away from a woman who just isn’t right for the singer. Maybe he broke his heart, maybe she’s already married, maybe she won’t settle down. Either way, lead vocalist Doug Gray wails as lead guitarist Toy Caldwell does the same on his six-string. Gray sings,

I’m gonna take a freight train
Down at the station, Lord
I don’t care where it goes
Gonna climb a mountain
The highest mountain
I’ll jump off, nobody gonna know

Can’t you see, whoa, can’t you see
What that woman, Lord, she been doin’ to me?
Can’t you see, can’t you see
What that woman, she’s been doin’ to me?

“Sharp Dressed Man” by ZZ Top

The Texas trio ZZ Top exemplifies southern classic rock, especially from a blues-rock sensibility. With giant beards and a deep groove, the band is known for songs like “Legs” and this track, “Sharp Dressed Man.” Somehow the group knows how to blend seriousness with a bit of wry humor in all their songs, along with a cadre of beautiful models in their music videos. The result is the perfect rock tracks for hot days down south. On this particular song, from the band’s 1983 album Eliminator, lead singer Billy Gibbons sings,

Clean shirt, new shoes
And I don’t know where I am goin’ to
Silk suit, black tie (black tie)
I don’t need a reason why

They come runnin’ just as fast as they can
‘Cause every girl crazy ’bout a sharp-dressed man

Gold watch, diamond ring
I ain’t missin’ not a single thing
Cufflinks, stick pin
When I step out I’m gonna do you in

“Whipping Post” by The Allman Brothers Band

Released on The Allman Brothers’ 1969 self-titled debut album, this song has been a favorite of the group’s to play live over the years and when they do, it is extended and features lengthy guitar solos over crashing, smashing percussion. As much as the twangy, growling vocals, the guitars from the group do the same, creating a torrent of southern classic rock sound. On the track, Gregg Allman sings, both painfully and cathartic,

I’ve been run down and I’ve been lied to.
And I don’t know why, I let that mean woman make me a fool.
She took all my money, wrecks my new car.
Now she’s with one of my good time buddies,
They’re drinkin’ in some cross-town bar.

Sometimes I feel, sometimes I feel,
Like I’ve been tied to the whippin’ post.
Tied to the whippin’ post, tied to the whippin’ post.
Good Lord, I feel like I’m dyin’

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