Ain't No Good Life

Album: Street Survivors (1977)

Songfacts®:

  • This was the first song ever released on a Lynyrd Skynyrd album that did not feature Ronnie Van Zant on vocals. It was sung by guitarist Steve Gaines, who was a singer, songwriter and guitarist prior to joining Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1976. The song is very much a blues tune. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Aaron - Twin Cities, MN
  • The "good life" would be a life of luxury. In this song, Steve Gaines is struggling to get by, barely paying his rent - it definitely ain't no good life.

    He seems resigned to his fate: the more he fights it, the more he grieves. At the end of the song, we learn why he gives in: nobody tells him what to do.
  • Steve Gaines wrote this song on his own. He was first recommended to the band by his sister, Cassie Gaines, who was one of the original backup singers added to the band. Cassie had originally been part of a group called The Honkettes, before they got absorbed into Lynyrd Skynyrd.

    Gaines made huge contributions to Street Survivors, his first Lynyrd Skynyrd album, and sadly, his last. Three days after it was released, he, Van Zant and Cassie all died in a plane crash. Gaines other writing credits on the album are:

    "You Got That Right," which he co-wrote with Van Zant. He and Ronnie shared lead vocals on that one.

    "I Never Dreamed" - another song he wrote with Van Zant.

    "I Know A Little" - a song he wrote on his own that was never released as a single, but became one of the group's best-known songs.

Comments: 9

  • Paul from UkThe original studio version of Aint No Good Life also had the Honkettes featured on it. Sometime between the original version and the early 1977 live versions, and the version re recorded and finally released on the Street Survivors album the Honkettes backing was dropped. Would be interested to know why as personally i think the earlier version was better
  • Wirenut from Corydon Kysteve gaines was a perfect fit for skynyrd. Their accents, attitudes , and style was definitely the truest representation of southern boys ever to hit the industry. Ronnie had so much soul. Lynyrd Skynyrd will always be very close to my heart.
  • Chuck from Winona MnIn case you wanna hear the version with the Honkettes it’s out on You Tube after a interview with Gary talking about Steve.
  • Chuck from Wirtz, VaSteve Gaines WAS the first vocalist to perform the song Ain't No Good Life on an album without lead vocalist Ronnie Van Zant. Ricky Medlocke did not appear until 1978 on a Lynyrd Skynyrd Album. Street Survivors was produced before the First and Last album.
  • Zap from Zaplandia, CtThis is in fact NOT the first song ever recorded by Skynyrd to feature someone other than Ronnie on vocals. Rickey Medlocke, sings "Seasons" and "White Dove" on Skynyrd's "First & Last" album. While released after "Street Survivors", it was recorded MANY years earlier.

    Also, the part about Cassie having been "part of a group called The Honkettes, before they got absorbed into Lynyrd Skynyrd" this is also untrue. The "Honkettes" were created by Skynyrd as part of the band.
  • Dan from Houston, Txit was said by Ronnie to all the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd that someday we would be second fiddle to steve gaines
  • Randy W from Atlanta, GaDefinite departure from the traditional Skynyrd style.
  • Justin from Belle, WvDrummer Artimus Pyle later stated that Ronnie had so much confidence in Steve that he would leave the stage as Steve took front and center and sang this song. Another interesting fact about the song is that when played live, the song featured The Honkettes (including Steve's sister Cassie) singing backup. However the Honkettes are absent from the studio version of the song.
  • Jeanette from Mcgrady, NcSteve brought new life to the Skynyrd band. He was an accomplished muscician in his own right before he joined the music men from Florida.
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