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Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd song)

"Simple Man" is the last track on Side 1 of Lynyrd Skynyrd's debut album, (Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd).

"Simple Man"
Song by Lynyrd Skynyrd
from the album (Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd)
Released 1973
Recorded April 30, 1973 at Studio One, Doraville, Georgia, U.S.
Length 5:57 (album version)
6:39 (live version)
Label Sounds of the South
Songwriter(s) Ronnie Van Zant
Gary Rossington
Producer(s) Al Kooper

The song is one of Lynyrd Skynyrd's most popular songs. Since the song became available for digital download, it has become Lynyrd Skynyrd's third best-selling digital song after "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Free Bird". It has sold 1,333,000 copies in the U.S. as of November 2013.[1]


Live performance popularityEdit

Frontman Johnny Van Zant discussed this song in a track-by-track commentary to promote the band's 2010 CD/DVD Live From Freedom Hall. He said: "Well that's a great song and something that I think we all live by. I think anybody out there needs to respect their mother, and the words of their mother. It's mama talking to you in that song and I think it's probably one of my favorites if not my favorite to do live. It's just a great song and that one stays in the set and the crowd always goes crazy on that one."

Musical structureEdit

"Simple Man" is written in the key of A minor/C major. The song begins with an acoustic arpeggiated chord sequence made up of the chords C major, G major and A minor. This intro is accompanied by a bass line and cymbals before the drums and vocals come in for the verse. Lyrically the song is about a mother talking to her child about life, inspired by the passing of Ronnie Van Zant's grandmother.[2] The chorus of the song includes electric guitars imitating sections of the arpeggiated intro progression. The guitar solo is performed by Gary Rossington and is regarded as one of the bands' best solos.

Popular cultureEdit

The intro of the song was used in The Sopranos episode Cold Stones.

The first half of the song can be heard in the 2000 semi-autobiographical film Almost Famous.

The Lynyrd Skynyrd original of the song was made available to download on April 15, 2008 for use in the Rock Band music gaming platform, and on March 1, 2011 for PRO mode which takes advantage of the use of a real guitar/bass guitar, along with standard MIDI-compatible electronic drum kits/keyboards in addition to up to three-part harmony vocals.[3]

This song is used as the television theme song to History's Mountain Men. Mixed martial artist Matt Mitrione uses "Simple Man" as his entrance song.[4]

This song was also used in the Supernatural television series in Season 5 episode 3 titled "Free to Be You and Me".

The song was covered by alternative metal band Deftones, appearing on two of their albums, B-Sides & Rarities (2005) and Covers (2011). The song was also covered by rock band Shinedown off the deluxe edition of their album Leave a Whisper, having an acoustic version and a rock version. Shinedown dedicated their cover to their friend, guitarist Dimebag Darrell, who was murdered on-stage in 2004. The country rock band Confederate Railroad covers the song in the Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute album Skynyrd Frynds.

This song was briefly used in My Name Is Earl episode "Number One".

This song is currently used as a warm up song by New York Mets pitcher Jacob DeGrom.

The song is used in the season one finale of the CBS series SEAL Team.



  1. ^ Grein, Paul (2013-11-27). "Chart Watch: Eminem Returns to #1, Gaga Sinks to #8". Yahoo Music. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Simple Man Songfacts". 
  3. ^ Gaddo, Kyle (2011-02-25). "Eleven Legacy Rock Band Tracks Getting PRO Upgrades On March 1st". The Gaming Vault. Archived from the original on 2013-05-25. Retrieved 2012-11-08. 
  4. ^ "UFC 137: Penn vs Diaz". MMA Entrances. 2011-10-30. Retrieved 2013-09-24. 

External linksEdit