Rock-and-roll may have been born below the Mason-Dixon line, but it didn't stay there for long. Then, 20 years after Elvis Presley cut his first Sun singles, the South rose again when groups like the Allman Brothers Band, the Outlaws, the Marshall Tucker Band, and Molly Hatchet took over the airwaves. But none of these whiskey-soaked bar bands, influenced by country blues, hard-edged honky-tonk, and the emerging pre-metal sounds of Led Zeppelin, could hold a candle to a seven-piece juggernaut called Lynyrd Skynyrd. Determined to become the American answer to the Rolling Stones, Skynyrd made an uncommon musical appeal to the common man, matching their working-class lyrics with muscular three-guitar leads, resulting in some of the most popular songs in the history of rock-and-roll: "Gimme Three Steps," "Sweet Home Alabama," and, of course, their generation-defining anthem, "Freebird." Although a plane crash robbed the band of three key players in 1979, the group reformed and soldiered on. Given their influence on modern rock, it's hard to imagine that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has only just gotten around to inducting the wild-eyed Southern boys, but you can show your appreciation when Lynyrd Skynyrd plays Southaven's Snowden Grove Amphitheatre on Sunday.
Lynyrd Skynyrd, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 4th, Snowden Grove Amphitheatre in Southaven, Mississippi, $30