- The history of Southern rock music
- The best Southern rock bands
- The best Southern rock songs
- The influence of Southern rock music
- The legacy of Southern rock music
- The future of Southern rock music
- The best Southern rock albums
- The best Southern rock concerts
- The Southern rock music scene
- Southern rock music festivals
A look at some of the best old southern rock music and what made it so great.
The history of Southern rock music
Rock music from the American South has been around since the mid-20th century, when artists like James Brown and Aretha Franklin began to cross over from Rhythm and Blues into the pop charts. In the 1960s and 1970s, a new breed of Southern rockers emerged, fusing country, blues, and rock into a distinctly American sound. Bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels Band, and The Outlaws became household names, while others like The Eagles and The Doobie Brothers found success outside the South.
Today, Southern rock is as popular as ever, with new bands like Blackberry Smoke and Drive-By Truckers carrying on the tradition of great songwriting and musicianship. Whether you’re a fan of the classics or looking for something new, this guide will help you find the best of Southern rock music.
The best Southern rock bands
The Allman Brothers Band- The Allman Brothers Band was an American rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1969 by brothers Duane Allman (slide guitar and lead guitar) and Gregg Allman (vocals, keyboards, songwriting), as well as Dickey Betts (lead guitar, vocals, songwriting), Berry Oakley (bass guitar), Butch Trucks (drums), and Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson (drums). The band incorporated elements of blues, jazz, and country music into a distinctive blend that came to be known as Southern rock.
The Marshall Tucker Band- The Marshall Tucker Band is an American southern rock/country rock band originally from Spartanburg, South Carolina. The band’s classic lineup consisted of lead singer Doug Gray, guitarist Toy Caldwell, keyboardist Tommy Caldwell, bassist Charlie Daniels, drummer Paul Riddle.
The Charlie Daniels Band- The Charlie Daniels Band is an American country and southern rock band led by Charlie Daniels. The band is known for its hit song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”, and multiple other songs.
Outlaws- Outlaws is an American southern rock/country rock band best known for their hit song “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky”.
The best Southern rock songs
If you’re a fan of old Southern rock music, then you know that there are some truly great songs in the genre. From classic hits to obscure tracks, there are plenty of tunes to choose from.
To help you narrow down the field, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best Southern rock songs ever made. These are the tunes that capture the essence of what Southern rock is all about, so crank them up and enjoy.
1. “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
2. “Ramble On” by Led Zeppelin
3. “The South’s Gonna Do It Again” by Charlie Daniels Band
4. “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
5. “Can’t You See” by Marshall Tucker Band
6. “I Ain’t the One” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
7. “Cross Road Blues (Crossroads)” by Robert Johnson
8. ” Statesboro Blues” by The Allman Brothers Band
9. “Whipping Post” by The Allman Brothers Band
10. “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” by The Allman Brothers Band
The influence of Southern rock music
Southern rock is a genre of rock music that developed in the Southern United States in the 1970s. It has a rootsy feel similar to country music, but with a harder, guitar-driven sound. Southern rock bands typically have a good-time, party-like attitude, and their lyrics often deal with topics such as drinking, womanizing, and making mischief.
The genre was originally popularized by bands such as The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Marshall Tucker Band. These bands combined elements of blues, country, and rockabilly to create a new kind of music that was both catchy and hard-hitting. Southern rock quickly spread beyond the American South and became popular nationwide.
In the 1980s and 1990s, groups like Alabama and Garth Brooks brought southern rock to a more mainstream audience. Today, southern rock is enjoying something of a renaissance thanks to artists like Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson. If you’re looking for some good old-fashioned southern rock tunes, here are some of the best of the genre.
The legacy of Southern rock music
Often viewed as a rebellious reaction to the music coming out of the North during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, Southern rock music emerged from the southern states of America as a distinct genre that blended country, blues, and rock & roll. Boogie-woogie piano, slide guitar licks, and strong rhythms characterized the sound of early Southern rock bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers Band.
The Allman Brothers’ hit song “Ramblin’ Man” perfectly encapsulates the carefree attitude and love of wanderlust that was often associated with southern rock music. Another Southern rock staple is “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, which pays tribute to the state of Alabama and takes a light-hearted jab at northern politicians.
While early Southern rock bands were mostly made up of white musicians, African American artists like James Brown and Wilson Pickett also had a significant influence on the genre. In fact, it was Pickett’s 1966 cover of “In The Midnight Hour” that first popularized the sound of southern rock outside of the region.
Nowadays, the term “Southern rock” is used to describe a wide range of musical styles emanating from the American South. From country-infused chart-toppers to more hard-edged metal groups, Southern rock continues to evolve while still staying true to its roots.
The future of Southern rock music
It’s impossible to predict the future of any music genre, but southern rock is in a good place right now. The genre has always been about more than just the music — it’s about a way of life, a set of values, and a feeling of community. That feeling is as strong as ever, and it’s reflected in the popularity of newer bands like Blackberry Smoke and The Cadillac Three.
What makes southern rock so special is its passionate, rebellious spirit. It’s music for people who aren’t afraid to speak their minds and stand up for what they believe in. That spirit is alive and well in today’s southern rock scene, and it’s likely to continue shaping the genre for years to come.
The best Southern rock albums
What are the best Southern rock albums? This is a tough question to answer, as there are so many great ones out there. However, we have compiled a list of some of our favorites. Check them out below.
1. “Athens, GA – Inside/Out” by The B-52’s
2. “Nashville Skyline” by Bob Dylan
3. “Southern Accents” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
4. “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” by The Byrds
5. “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
The best Southern rock concerts
Southern rock is a subgenre of rock music and a genre of Americana. It developed in the Southern United States from rock and roll, country music, and blues, and is focused generally on electric guitar and vocals. Although the origin of the term “southern rock” is unknown, it is believed to have come into use in the late 1970s.
Southern rock began to gain popularity in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Allman Brothers Band’s 1969 live album At Fillmore East is often cited as one of the first examples of southern rock. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1973 debut album (Pronounced ‘lĕh-‘nérd ‘skin-‘nérd), which features the classic hit “Free Bird”, also helped popularize the genre. Although they were not originally from the South, The Doobie Brothers also helped contribute to the rise of southern rock with hits like “Black Water” (1974) and “China Grove” (1973).
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in southern rock, with newer bands such as Blackberry Smoke and The Cadillac Three garnering critical acclaim. This list celebrates some of the best southern rock concerts of all time.
The Southern rock music scene
The Southern rock music scene of the 1970s was a incubator for a new brand of rock and roll. The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Marshall Tucker Band and others combined the driving rhythms of rock with the twang of country to create a uniquely American sound. These bands became some of the most popular acts in the world, selling millions of records and packing stadiums with fans who loved their hard-driving, long-form jams.
While Southern rock’s popularity has faded in recent decades, the genre’s influence can still be felt in the music of today. And many of the bands that started it all are still touring and making new music, ensuring that the spirit of Southern rock will live on for generations to come.
Southern rock music festivals
Southern rock music festivals are a great way to experience the best of the genre. These events typically feature a mix of classic and contemporary artists, as well as a variety of food and drink options.
Whether you’re a fan of the Allman Brothers or you’re more interested in newer bands like Blackberry Smoke, there’s sure to be a southern rock music festival that’s perfect for you. Here are just a few of the most popular events:
Rock on the Range: This three-day event takes place in Columbus, Ohio and features some of the biggest names in southern rock, including Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kid Rock, and ZZ Top.
Welcome to Rockville: This Florida-based festival takes place in Jacksonville and features a mix of classic and contemporary southern rock bands. Previous years have featured acts like Alabama Shakes and Stone Temple Pilots.
Charlotte Motor Speedway: This North Carolina-based festival is one of the most popular Southern rock events in the country. It features three days of music, along with camping and other activities.