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The 100 Defining Moments in Southern Rock: Part Three

59. “Freebird” The Movie Premiers (1996) Drawn mostly from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1976 show at Knebworth Fair in England. the movie also included footage from a few smaller shows, along with rare photos, interviews and more. The movie was released on DVD in December 2001.

58. Eddie Hinton Dies in Alabama at age 51 (July 28, 1995) The great Southern singer, songwriter and guitar player Eddie Hinton went from fame to homelessness and back to popularity during his life, recording for Capricorn Records and playing with Duane Allman and as a member of the Muscle Shoals rhythm section known as The Swampers.

57. 38 Special Formed in Jacksonville (1975) The band was formed by neighborhood friends Don Barnes and Ronnie’s brother Donnie Van Zant in 1975 in Jacksonville, Florida, and remain a concert draw to this day.

56. Wet Willie forms in Mobile, Alabama (1969) Drummer Lewis Ross assembled the musicians for a group called "Fox" in the summer of 1969, which a year later became known as Wet Willie, fronted by the enigmatic Jimmy Hall. The group was soon signed to Capricorn Records and Macon became their second home. “Keep On Smilin’” was released in 1974 and became their biggest hit.

55. Hank Williams, Jr. and Friends is Released (1975) Following a near death accident while climbing Ajax Mountain, Bocephus changed his musical direction in  what is often cited as the first move of a country artist into the Southern Rock realm. Joining Hank on the record Hank Williams, Jr. and Friends were Toy Caldwell, Charlie Daniels, Pete Carr, Chuck Leavell, Dickey Betts, Waylon Jennings and other greats. Hank also recorded two of Toy’s songs on the record, which is considered by many to be Hank’s best work ever.

54. Danny Joe Brown Dies at 53 (March 10, 2005) Brown, diagnosed with diabetes when he was 19 and in poor health since suffering a stroke in 1998, succumbed to renal failure and pneumonia. Molly Hatchet was formed in 1974 by Brown, and lead guitarists David Hlubek and Steve Holland. Their name was taken from a 17th century prostitute known for chopping off her clients' heads. Guitarist Duane Roland, bassist Banner Thomas and drummer Bruce Crump joined the following year to complete the six-member lineup, based in Jacksonville, Florida.

53. Doug Gray Sings “Ramblin’” Live (1974) Nowhere is the sheer vocal ability of Marshall Tucker Band’s lead vocalist Doug Gray more evident than on the double album Where We All Belong, and of all the great vocals on the classic record, none is more intense than “Ramblin (on My Mind),” the Toy Caldwell penned rocker that goes and goes, building to a climactic sustained note from that shakes the walls and rattles the balls.

52. “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” (1970) Supposedly written at Rose Hill Cemetery after Dickey Betts saw the words on a large tombstone, the original studio
recording is the fourth song on the Allman Brothers Band's 1970 album Idlewild South and appeared on their seminal Live at Fillmore East release. (Among others) Written in a minor key, the understated jazzy instrumental was the band’s first original instrumental, and the first of many classic Dickey Betts instrumental compositions.

51. “Layla” Merges Duane Allman and Eric Clapton (1970) The story of how their union came to be is the stuff of legend, and Tom Dowd told us about it during our interviews with him. The addition of Skydog’s guitar to this already unbelievable band was the cherry on top, creating a double album of timeless classic rock.

50. Clint Black Records a Toy Caldwell Song (1999) The Marshall Tucker favorite “Bob Away My Blues” was given an acoustic treatment by country star Clint Black for his first ever self produced , album D'Lectrified.

49. The Outlaws Piece Together “Green Grass and High Tides” (1975) Hughie Thomasson went on record saying that the original Outlaws song was four minutes, but after years of jamming out on the end of the song, it ended up being the new “Free Bird.”

48. Marshall Tucker Band Appear on “Hollywood Squares” (1977) Yes, The MTB (George, Toy and Paul, anyway) were answering questions from Peter Marshall alongside Elvin Bishop, The Tubes and others on the classic seventies game show.

47. Charlie Daniels Records Tribute to Fellow Southern Rockers (1975) “The South’s Gonna Do it Again” from The Charlie Daniels Band LP Fire On The Mountain as a straight up “roll call” for all of his friends, from Skynyrd to Marshall Tucker, Barefoot Jerry to Wet Willie, Dickey Betts, Grinderswitch and more. The song is considered by many to be the official Southern Rock anthem.

46. Phil Walden Signs The Allman Brothers (1969) Phil Walden signed Gregg and Duane Allman and company to the newly formed Capricorn Records in Macon, Georgia in 1969, ta moment that arguably may be the instant Southern Rock was born.

45. Lester Bangs Reviews MTB in Rolling Stone (1973) Legendary rock journalist Lester Bangs was known for his rave reviews of Lou Reed and punk rock records, but he also found passion in groups like Wet Willie and loved the debut Tucker record, exposing them to a whole new ( and huge) audience. Read his review here.

44. Dickey Betts Fired from ABB (May 2001) Just before the summer 2001 tour, the other members of The Allman Brothers Band sent a FAX to Dickey Betts, firing him from the band. The FAX cited alcohol and substance abuse as the problem, although Betts claimed at the time to no longer have a problem. He was replaced for the summer tour by Jimmy Herring, and never returned.

43. 3614 Jackson Highway Opens Doors (1969) Muscle Shoals Sound Studio was formed in 1969 when musicians Barry Beckett (keyboards), Roger Hawkins (drums), Jimmy Johnson (guitar) and David Hood (bass) aka: The Swampers,  left FAME Studios to create their own studio. Besides recording everyone from Aretha Franklin to The Rolling Stones, the studio is remembered as one of the first places Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded.In 1978, new facilities were created on the banks of the Tennessee River in the abandoned Navy Reserve building, which included two, then-state-of-the-art two studio complexes with Neve recording consoles, with Neve's automation 'flying faders' in Studio B.

42. Muscle Shoals Sound Studios Sold to Movie Company (2005) The second Muscle Shoals Sound Studio closed and the building was sold to Cypress Moon, a company that makes movies. The company is headed by Tonya Holly, who maintains a deep respect for the history of the building. Her husband Kelvin is a respected Shoals guitarist who performs with Little Richard.

41. Bonnie & Delaney Meet and Married (1967) Bonnie met Delaney and a few weeks later they were married, creating one of rock’s most legendary pairings. The couple formed a band that at times featured everyone from Dave Mason to Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Duane Allman. After several albums, the couple divorced in 1973 and went their separate ways personally an musically.

40. Paul Hornsby’s Synthisizer on “Take The Highway” (1973) Down at Capricorn Records Studios in Macon, Paul Hornsby was producing the debut album from The Marshall Tucker Band, a decidedly country rock group. Somehow, Paul made the decision to play synthisizer on the song “Take The Highway,” and it worked like magic. Now that is innovation!

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