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This song is about Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington, who bought a new car (a Ford Torino), got drunk, and crashed it into a tree, then a house ("whiskey bottles, brand new car, oak tree you're in my way"). The band was supposed to start a tour in a few days, but had to postpone it because of Rossington's injuries.
Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Allen Collins wrote this song. They were not pleased with Rossington, whose drug and alcohol problems were affecting the band.
The band fined Rossington $5000 for holding up the tour. Skynyrd made an effort to stay sober on this tour. Drugs and alcohol were banned from the dressing rooms.
Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, and backup singer Cassie Gaines were killed in a plane crash a few days after Lynyrd Skynyrd's 1977 tour started. Some of the lyrics in this song refer to death, and the cover of the album, which had just been released, showed the band enveloped in flames.
This song features the famous whistle of Ronnie Van Zant. He learned to whistle very loud so he could call the dogs when he went hunting.
La La Brooks of The Crystals
The lead singer on "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me," La La explains how and why Phil Spector replaced The Crystals with Darlene Love on "He's A Rebel."
The Creed lead singer reveals the "ego and self-fulfillment" he now sees in one of the band's biggest hits.