Lynyrd Skynyrd Albums Ranked

Lynyrd Skynyrd Albums

Photo: MCA Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Our Lynyrd Skynyrd albums ranked article looks at the entire discography of the legendary band Lynyrd Skynyrd. When we first began putting this article together, we were kind of torn between whether or not we should include the Lynyrd Skynyrd albums that were released after the tragedy of the 1977 airplane crash that took the lives of Lynyrd Skynyrd members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Casie Gaines along with the band’s assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick and the pilot and co-pilot Walter McCreary and William Gray. We all thought that was the end of Lynyrd Skynyrd, but Ronnie Van Zant’s younger brother Johnny put the band back together 10 years later.

Of course, the Lynyrd Skynyrd with Johnny Van Zant as lead singer sounded like a very different band. However, original Lynyrd Skynyrd members Gary Rossington, Leon Wilkeson, Billy Powell, Artimus Pyle and Ed King and Dale Krantz Rossington revitalized the group for old fans and the ones yet to come. The reunion of the band was initially supposed to be just a one-time thing, but it turned out that it felt right for the musicians, and they continued on to this day. So, out of respect for all versions of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd, we have listed all the Lynyrd Skynyrd albums on this list.

# 14 – Endangered Species

We open up Our Lynyrd Skynyrd albums ranked article with the band’s eighth studio album entitled Endangered Species. The album was released in 1994. This was an album of acoustic versions of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classic songs. The lineup on the album included Johnny Van Zant on vocals, Gary Rossington on guitar and acoustic guitar, Mike Estes on guitar and acoustic guitar, Leon Wilkeson on bass, Billy Powell on piano, Owen Hale on drums, and Ed King on guitars

# 13 – God & Guns

God & Guns was released on September 29, 2009. It was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s thirteenth studio album. Only Gary Rossington and Billy Powell remained from the original band on this album.

# 12 – Last of a Dyin’ Breed

Last of a Dyin’ Breed is the final studio album released by Lynyrd Skynyrd as of this writing in 2021. The album was released in 2012. Only Gary Rossington remains from the original band. The lineup on this album included Johnny Van Zant on Lead vocals, Gary Rossington on guitars, Rickey Medlocke of Blackfoot on guitars, Mark Matejka on guitars, Peter Keys on Keyboards, Mike Brignardello on bass, and Greg Morrow on drums.

# 11 – Edge Of Forever

Edge of Forever was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s tenth studio album, released in 1999. It is probably the most polished of all the post-77 Lynyrd Skynyrd albums, with session legend Kenny Aronoff playing drums on the entire album.

# 10 – Vicious Cycle

The Lynyrd Skynyrd album Vicious Cycle was released in 2003. The album contained one of the most popular songs the post-1977 version of the band ever released in the song “Red, White and Blue.”

# 9 – The Last Rebel

The Last Rebel was a really strong post 1977 Lynyrd Skynyrd album. It was the band’s second album released after they reformed in 1991. The Last Rebel was released in 1993. It set the tone that the new reformed version of Lynyrd Skynyrd was here to stay.

# 8 – Twenty

The Twenty title of this great Lynyrd Skynyrd album stood for the band’s twentieth anniversary of that sad day in 1977 when the band lost Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines in the plane crash. It also marked a new period in the band with the addition of two well-known southern rock musicians: Rickey Medlocke, who was the frontman for Blackfoot and who was actually Lynyrd Skynyrd’s original drummer before they were famous, and Hughie Thomasson of the great southern rock band The Outlaws. The addition of these two great musicians had a positive impact on the sound of the band, injecting renewed energy into the group. You can hear it easily on this fabulous album.

# 7 – Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991

The Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991 album was the band’s first new studio album since Street Survivors. It was both joyous and bittersweet for fans when Lynyrd Skynyrd released this album. Younger brother Johnny Van Zant brought his singing style into the group with a much rougher voice than Ronnie’s. It was wise not to imitate his brother because the fans would not have accepted that. Johnny did a fantastic job on the album, which featured all the original members of Lynyrd Skynyrd except for Allen Collins, who passed away in 1990, and, of course, the band members lost in the 1977 plane crash. This was an excellent album, as it just felt good to hear these great musicians playing together again on record.

# 6 – Gimme Back My Bullets

Lynyrd Skynyrd sounded pretty heavy on this excellent album released by the band in February of 1976. Standout tracks included the fantastic title track “Gimme Back My Bullets” and the song “Searching.” This album’s guitar work between Gary Rossington and Allen Collins is outstanding.

# 5 – Nuthin’ Fancy

Nuthin’ Fancy was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s third album release. The record hit the stores in March of 1975. Nuthin’ Fancy would become the band’s first top 10 album as it was eagerly anticipated as the follow-up to Second Helping, which contained the big hit “Sweet Home Alabama.” Many Lynyrd Skynyrd classics were given birth on the Nuthin’ Fancy album, including the songs Saturday Night Special,” “Am I Losin’,” and “Whiskey Rock-a-Roller.”

# 4 – Lynyrd Skynyrd (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd)

Southern Rock and even just basic rock and roll were handed a great new band in 1973 when Lynyrd Skynyrd released their debut album entitled Lynyrd Skynyrd (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd). The album’s great cover showcased the entire group in many ways, symbolizing that this was a total band effort. The album presented the studio version of “Free Bird, “which would be soon blown away by the stunning live version released in 1976 on the One More For The Road album. There were so many sensational songs on the record, like Tuesday’s Gone,” “Simple Man,” and “Gimme Three Steps.” The album was produced by Al Kooper who would go on to produce the next set of Lynyrd Skynyrd albums.

# 3 – Second Helping

As we start to close in on the number one spot on our Lynyrd Skynyrd albums ranked list, we present the band’s second studio album entitled Second Helping.  The album was released on April 15th, 1974. It was with the release of the band’s second album that Lynyrd Skynyrd became pretty much a household name in the United States because of the hit single “Sweet Home Alabama.” The band simply sounded great on the record as they always pretty much had a live feel on their studio albums which is why people just love them so much, they were just simply so genuine.

The Second Helping album also contained some other songs that would become standard Lynyrd Skynyrd repertoire, including “Call Me The Breeze,” “The Needle and the Spoon, the original debut single from the album “Don’t Ask Me No Questions,” and of course the classic song “Workin for MCA.”

# 2 – One More from the Road

We don’t usually put live albums on these best-of-album lists, but we’re going to make an exception with this one. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s excellent live album One More For The Road stands as really one of the greatest live albums of all time. The album was released on September 9th, 1976, as a two-record set. The concerts were captured live over three nights at the legendary Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia. The crown jewel of this album was the 11-minute version of the song “Free Bird.” I can’t tell you how many times the song was played on the radio in 1976. Everyone went nuts over the live version of Freebird. However, there were so many more great recordings released on the One More for the Road album. This is one you have to have.

The record opened up with a great version of “Workin for MCA.” The first side closed with an incredible version of Tuesday’s Gone. Side two opened with a killer live recording of Saturday Night Special  and closed with a slamming version of “Sweet Home Alabama.” The live album also contained a fantastic version of the Robert Johnson classic “Crossroads,” placed  just before the final track on side four entitled “Free Bird.” The album also featured the band’s newest guitarist, Steve Gaines, along with Ronnie Van Zant on vocals, Allen Collins on guitar, Gary Rossington on guitar, Leon Wilkeson on base, Artimus Pyle on drums, the great Billy Powell on keyboards, on backing vocals, were JoJo Billingsley, Cassie Gaines, and Leslie Hawkins.

# 1 – Street Survivors

In the number one spot on our Lynyrd Skynyrd albums ranked article we present the band’s legendary Street Survivors album. This is a bittersweet album. Just three days after Street Survivors was released the band endured that tragic airplane crash. The original album cover had the band in flames which was pulled immediately. That original album cover would eventually return on CD issues many years later.

The Street Survivors album stands as their strongest record. It defined a maturity in the band from a musical standpoint due to the arrival of new guitarist Steve Gaines. Songs like “That Smell,” “You Got That Right,” and “I Never Dreamed” defined a whole new level of songwriting skills than what the band had previously released. From the lyrics, the melodies, the chord changes, and the musicianship, the Street Survivors album served as a preview for a band taking that next step and becoming even greater than they already were.

Updated April 18, 2024

Lynyrd Skynyrd Albums Ranked article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024 

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