Young offered this song to Lynyrd Skynyrd, but they never recorded it. Skynyrd and Young have a history of mutual admiration that is often misunderstood, as "Sweet Home Alabama
" is sometimes thought to contain a dig at Young ("I hope Neil Young will remember, a southern man don't need him around anyhow"). Any "feud" was good-natured - the line in "Sweet Home Alabama" was really Skynyrd making the point that not everyone from the South is a regressive redneck.
In 1977, the band's plane crashed, killing their lead singer, guitarist and a backup singer. It's possible that they would have recorded "Powderfinger" for their next album, but after the crash, Young decided to record it himself and included it on his Rust Never Sleeps