The Five Best "Free Bird" References for Those Who Won't Stop Yelling It at Concerts

Tonight, for one night only, you have the chance to yell out "Free Bird" without sounding like a moron.

That's because Lynyrd Skynyrd is actually in town tonight, and if someone yells "Free Bird" and they don't actually play it, the crowd is legally obligated to burn the place down (note to readers: Please don't actually burn the place down).

For those of you who aren't going to tonight's shows but need a "Free Bird" fix, we have culled the many, many pop culture "Free Bird" references to find the five best.

5. Flight of the Conchords
Assaulted frequently with requests for "Free Bird," everything from metal acts to a cappella groups have adopted some version of the song to appease the "Free Bird"-yelling masses. Few of them are as funny as the one put on by the Conchords. Never known to take themselves seriously, the boys from New Zealand break it down near the end into some kind of self-analytic acoustic number. Call it free-form "Free Bird."

4. Singing Tesla Coil
This video is of the magical 41-KHz coil created by a college student in Illinois and played regularly in front of crowds. It's remarkable to watch and listen to. So much so that, at the first break, somebody yells "Free Bird." Since this has been posted, 1.8 million people have watched the video, and every one of them has wondered why you'd pick that moment to sound like a moron.

3. Nine-Year-Old Nerd's Guitar Hero "Free Bird"
Remember that nerdy 9-year-old who had his 15 minutes of fame beating the finale of Guitar Hero 3? It seems the Mozart of Guitar Hero cut his teeth on "Free Bird," a song that starts out technically easy and turns into a five-finger disaster. You go, 9-year-old nerd.

2. The Devil's Rejects Final Scene
Rob Zombie ended his film with a convertible Caddy full of blood-soaked psychopaths barrelling into a police roadblock. "Free Bird" plays as the nutjobs get ready to take a face-full of bullets, and even those sick of the song, even those sick of hearing it in an ironic way, have to dig the guitar crescendo-meets-suicide-shootout.

1. Comedian Bill Hicks: "Mantra of the Moron"
During a gig in Chicago in the early '90s, the comedian let loose on a "Free Bird" call-out by labeling it "the mantra of the moron." His subsequent diatribe on the usefulness of the "Free Bird" chant drew a line in the sand between those who believed it ought to be used at any break in a concert, those who saved it for the lame wedding band, and those who wished the song and all public references of it ought to be blown away in the final scene of a Rob Zombie movie. In the video, you can just about watch Hicks go insane as he says: "Hitler had the right idea -- he was just an underachiever."

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Eric Barton
Contact: Eric Barton