The younger generation of today remembers “Simple Man‘ as a mainstream rock song performed by the popular modern rock band Shinedown. And while Shinedown did amazing things with their cover of the song, it originally was released in 1973 and quickly rose to fame as one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s most popular songs. Lynyrd Skynyrd founding member and frontman Ronald Wayne “Ronnie” Van Zant (January 15, 1948 – October 20, 1977), co-wrote the infamous tune, and at one point performed it in all of its raw and beautiful glory as a vocals-only track. Today we have that performance right here at BON, and it will give you goosebumps.
In the 5 minute track, “Simple Man” is performed so organically; it is rare that we ever got to listen to Ronnie and Ronnie alone, without the aid of his band behind him. The video below is a beautiful manifestation of Ronnie’s pure voice, as it rises and declines, and breaks in the most perfect places – he never once made the attempt to fake his way through any part of the performance, and that is simply, the exceptional artistry that is immensely limited in the music of today’s generation. It is just fascinating to witness.
This performance was the late Ronnie Van Zant at his most vulnerable; his voice and talent was never before more exposed. This was him passing on all of the most important lessons that had molded him into the man and artist that we all knew and loved. Watch it below, and tell us in the comments how much you miss Ronnie Van Zant and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Had you ever heard this vocals-only track of Ronnie’s before?