Lynyrd Skynyrd had already fulfilled a good deal of its promise on definitive Southern-rock albums such as Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd and the live One More From the Road when they stepped up their ambition a few more no... more »tches for this October 1977 release. Fueled by new member Steve Gaines, the Florida band produced its best album. Gaines, Gary Rossington, and Allen Collins interlocked on guitars as if they'd learned it all in the womb together, while singer Ronnie Van Zant came up with his most evocative lyrics yet. The shadow of death he detected on "That Smell" was closer than perhaps even he thought, however: three days after the record's appearance in stores, he was killed along with five others in a Mississippi crash of the group's tour plane. Street Survivors remains as a classic of American guitar rock. --Rickey Wright« less
Lynyrd Skynyrd had already fulfilled a good deal of its promise on definitive Southern-rock albums such as Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd and the live One More From the Road when they stepped up their ambition a few more notches for this October 1977 release. Fueled by new member Steve Gaines, the Florida band produced its best album. Gaines, Gary Rossington, and Allen Collins interlocked on guitars as if they'd learned it all in the womb together, while singer Ronnie Van Zant came up with his most evocative lyrics yet. The shadow of death he detected on "That Smell" was closer than perhaps even he thought, however: three days after the record's appearance in stores, he was killed along with five others in a Mississippi crash of the group's tour plane. Street Survivors remains as a classic of American guitar rock. --Rickey Wright
STREET SURVIVORS KICKS THE . . . OUT OF EVERYTHING ELSE!
Michael G. King | LOUISVILLE, KY United States | 12/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In September 1976, Lynyrd Skynyrd had one of the worst reputations in rock 'n' roll. During the previous "five years of alcoholism" Ronnie Van Zant had single-handedly left a trail of trashed hotel rooms, whiskey-soaked gigs and fistfights over mistakes in the shows. On Labor Day weekend, 1976, just before the release of Skynyrd's new double-live LP "One More From The Road", founding guitarists Gary Rossington and Allen Collins were involved in separate alcohol and drug related auto accidents. While DUI, Collins hit a parked car, knocking it across an empty parking lot. Fortunately, he emerged unscathed. Rossington was not so lucky. Passing out at the wheel of his brand new Ford Torino, with his foot on the gas, his car went out of control and knocked down a telephone pole, split an oak tree, and did $7,000 worth of damage to a house. It was Rossington's accident that was Ronnie Van Zant's inspiration to write "Whiskey bottles, and brand new cars; Oak tree you're in my way" for the song "That Smell".During April, 1977 recording sessions, the band laid down tracks for a pair of new Van Zant-Rossington songs, the catchy "What's Your Name", which was inspired by a bar fight involving roadie Craig Reed, and a churning blues number called "Sweet Little Missy", that featured Billy Powell on keyboards and a searing Steve Gaines guitar solo. The later was dropped from the new album prior to it's release, and appears as a bonus track on the new expanded edition CD. Steve Gaines was one of the souths most promising young guitarists and sadly, the world never got to hear the full potential of what this musician would have had to offer. The band also recorded two new Gaines-Van Zant songs, "You Got That Right", a rocking celebration of the band's exhurberant touring lifestyle and "I Never Dreamed", an introspective ballad that addressed the fundamental shift in Ronnie Van Zant's priorities since the birth of his daughter, Melody, on September 19, 1976.After all the turmoil Skynyrd had endured, they decided to call their new record "Street Survivors". The original album cover pictured the band standing tall, while flames engulfed them. The flames would be removed from the cover art just weeks later, deemed in poor taste. I myself am happy to see it return, as it holds a message that the band intended to convey. "More went into Street Survivors than any other album we have ever done," said Ronnie Van Zant. "Maybe there's not a big hit single on it like 'Sweet Home Alabama,' but it's the best we've ever done." Ronnie was wrong about the hit single though, because "What's Your Name" cracked the Top 10 singles charts.
"Street Survivors", released October 17, 1977 was the most anticipated Skynyrd album yet, shipping over 500,000 units, automatically making it a gold record. It eventually went to multi-platinum status. Sadly, just three days after the album's release, on the first week of the new tour, the band's tour plane ran out of gas and crashed into a Mississippi forrest, killing Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, sister Cassie Gaines, and road manager Dean Kilpatrick."Street Survivors" marks a time of change for Lynyrd Skynyrd, as it is unlike any prior Skynyrd studio album. This is the one that features the triple-guitar assualt of Rossington-Collins-Gaines that was intoduced live on "One More From The Road", and that is most prominently featured on "That Smell". Highlights In addition to "That Smell", the top 10 "What's Your Name" and "You Got That Right", include a Steve Gaines song from his pre-Skynyrd days, "I Know A Little", a six year old Skynyrd song repolished that even pre-dates "Free Bird", "One More Time", and a brothelesque rocking little number that is one of my favorites, "Ain't No Good Life." Another key note is their cover of Merle Haggard's "Honkey Tonk Night Time Man". The world will never know where Skynyrd would have taken us musically, had the tragic events of October, 1977 not occured. "Street Survivors" was only the beginning of a new brand of Lynyrd Skynyrd. ALAS, IT'S TIME TO BRING "STREET SURVIVORS" OUT OF THE CLOSET & CRANK UP THE SPEAKERS."
W. Decker | 10/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is Skynyrd's best effort. However, Michael King's previous review is plagiarized from the liner notes to the album. You are supposed to give your own opinion, not copy word-for-word from the booklet. Lame!"
Lynyrd Skynyrd's Final Masterpiece
Will Culp | Greenville, South Carolina | 08/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Street Survivors(1977). Lynyrd Skynyrd's Fifth Studio Album.
In 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd was back from the One More From The Road tour to record the tracks that would become 'Street Survivors'. Their previous album, 'Gimme Back My Bullets' was Skynyrd's least succesful LP to date, but Lynyrd Skynyrd came back to the studio with a new guitarist and great new song ideas. These songs, recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami, would become some of Lynyrd Skynyrd's most recognizable and acclaimed tracks. When 'Street Survivors' was released, the hotly anticipated album shipped Gold, going platinum within weeks. The hit single "What's Your Name" eventually broke into the Top Ten, and "That Smell" and "You Got That Right" became sizeable hits also. Tragically, after a concert in Greenville, South Carolina, Lynyrd Skynyrd's airplane crashed, and the majority of the band passed away instantly. Though they never got to see how popular they would become, Lynyrd Skynyrd is one of the most acclaimed bands of our time. Read on to find out if what I thought of 'Street Survivors'.
What's Your Name- The massive Top Ten hit, Ronnie Van Zant wrote "What's Your Name" in response to MCA, which wanted a short, anthemic hit single like "Sweet Home Alabama". A short, addictive southern rocker, "What's Your Name" is an upbeat and charming rocker, with lots of boogie piano and trumpets, not to mention the guitar harmonies we've come to know and love.
That Smell- A dark, serious song about the dangers of drug abuse, Ronnie Van Zant wrote "That Smell" after several of his band members almost died in car crashes due to drug and alcohol abuse. Van Zant sings with lots of emotion, with a hint of foreboding, and his message is very profound. Skynyrd's guitarists dole out plenty of crunching power chords and anthemic guitar melodies. Easily one of Skynyrd's best.
One More Time- A soft-spoken country-rock ballad, "One More Time" has Van Zant singing with his emotional, heartfelt lyrics behind a mix of folk and country guitar melodies. "One More Time" is similar to "The Ballad of Curtis Loew", and the track comes off sounding very inspired and heartfelt.
I Know A Little- A fast, rapid-fire boogie track, "I Know A Little" is a catchy, smoking track full of roaring blues guitar and boogie piano. Van Zant's vocals are light and upbeat, and this track has the feel of being in an old western bar. A very underrated, overlooked classic.
You Got That Right- A rocking celebration of Lynyrd Skynyrd's wild touring, "You Got That Right" is an extremely addictive rocker, one of Lynyrd Skynyrd's less southern and more hard rocking tracks. It combines the cheeky, sarcastic singing of Ronnie Van Zant with some of Skynyrd's most inspired guitarwork. This song is probably my favorite song from Lynyrd Skynyrd; it's worth getting the album for this song alone!
I Never Dreamed- An introspective ballad, "I Never Dreamed" combines the soulful country guitar harmonies with Van Zant's pained vocals. If you're a fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and you like their ballads, you'd be sure to enjoy "I Never Dreamed".
Honky Tonk Night Time Man- "Honky Tonk Night Time Man" is a cover of the Merle Haggard hit. Ronnie Van Zant grew up idolizing Haggard, and he puts out some great "bluesy" vocals. A good, fun, country song, that any fan of the band will appreciate.
Ain't No Good Life- A searing blues track, "Ain't No Good Life" is a powerful, emotional blues track. Van Zant's pained vocals combines with the powerful electric blues to make a good blues track.
Georgia Peaches- A typical Lynyrd Skynyrd tune, "Georgia Peaches" is an inspired southern rocker, a sarcastic track about Georgia's women. This song has some funky keyboards, and funny lyrics. Classic Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Sweet Little Missy- A churning blues track, "Sweet Little Missy" combines the punchy, blues guitar with Van Zant's sarcastic, hurt vocals. Lynyrd Skynyrd originally kept this track off the original album, but it's a great example of their mastery of the blues.
Jacksonville Kid- A track very similar to "Georgia Peaches", "Jacksonville Kid" is a swamp boogie rocker, with some inspired country guitar playing.
Overall, Street Survivors is a classic album from Lynyrd Skynyrd, up to par with classics like 'Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd', 'Second Helping', and 'Nuthin' Fancy'. This album contains many of my personal favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd tunes, such as "That Smell" and "You Got That Right", and it consistently remained great throughout, whether Lynyrd Skynyrd was breaking out with hard rock, blues, country, or boogie music. This was Lynyrd Skynyrd's farewell to the fans, and, without a doubt, it was a great one.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO FANS OF ROCK, COUNTRY, AND LYNYRD SKYNYRD! LYNYRD SKYNYRD'S LAST BOW IS NOT TO BE MISSED!
Second Helping- Lynyrd Skynyrd Tres Hombres- ZZ Top Desperado- The Eagles
Thanks For Reading!"
An Excellent, Though Tragic, Final Album
Alex | Colorado | 02/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"But now it's common knowledge. A mere three days after the triumphant release of one of their greatest albums, STREET SURVIVORS, Lynyrd Skynyrd would be struck down at their peak by the hands of fate. That we would never again hear from Ronnie Van Zant is a true tragedy, but we can take some comfort in knowing that he went down doing what he loved, traveling and singing his song, and that the band left us with this excellent final masterpiece.
Much praise has been heaped on this album since long before I started reviewing, with undoubtedly more to come, but I have listened to this time and again over the years, and am willing to stand by all the accolades. STREET SURVIVORS is a great album, and in many ways could be called Skynyrd's masterpiece.
From the get-go, STREET SURVIVORS establishes itself as something of a 'fresh start' for Skynyrd. Gone is the road-weariness and exhaustion of GIMME BACK MY BULLETS; in its place is a renewed sense of vitality and creative energy. "What's Your Name" and "You Got That Right" are the most energetic southern boogies Skynyrd has cut since SECOND HELPING, while "That Smell" grabs the dark edginess of "Saturday Night Special." On the flip side, "I Never Dreamed" is one of Ronnie's most poignant and accomplished ballades, as is "One More Time," a revival of a forgotten early gem.
Of course, while Ronnie's songwriting is the anchor of Skynyrd's sound, it wouldn't come to life without the excellent musicians Van Zant surrounded himself with. At the forefront is Steve Gaines, the rookie whose slick guitar picking goes a long way in giving this album its strength and energy. Gaines also proves to be a solid songwriter, collaborating with Ronnie on some of the albums highlights, and even contributing a few of his own songs, not least of which is the excellent honkey-tonk-meets-blues number "Ain't No Good Life." Meanwhile, Rossington and Collins are clearly inspired by the new guy, as their solos here are as fresh and captivating as they've ever been. And, of course Billy Powell submits some outstanding saloon style piano, especially on "Honkey Tonk Night Time Man," while Artimus and Leon manage the task of keeping the beat.
Really, praise of this album at this point is superfluous. But in this case, I feel compelled to contribute my two cents anyway. This is an excellent album, no doubt one of Skynyrd's best. And if the original band had to go out, at least they managed to go out on top. Highly recommended."