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Lynyrd Skynyrd denounces Confederate flag, angering some fans

September 21, 2012|By August Brown
  • Johnny Van Zant, left, and Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd
Johnny Van Zant, left, and Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd (Tim Mosenfelder / ImageDirect…)

Lynyrd Skynyrd wasn't bothered by Watergate, but now they're sheepish over their use of the Confederate flag.

The Southern rock band has long been known for its '70s-era hits like "Sweet Home Alabama" and defiant embrace of Old Dixie imagery. But the group's lone surviving original member, Gary Rossington, recently told CNN that the band, recognizing the stars-and-bars flag's offensive and racist undertones, will cease using it as a stage decoration at concerts supporting its new album "Last of a Dyin' Breed."

"Through the years, people like the KKK and skinheads kinda kidnapped the Dixie or Southern flag from its tradition and the heritage of the soldiers, that's what it was about," Rossington said. "We didn't want that  to go to our fans or show the image like we agreed with any of the race stuff or any of the bad things."

This apparently didn't sit well with some of the band's fans back in Dixie, who have taken to the comments section with pained vitriol.

"Good luck with your next release 'Sweet home Massachusetts.' I am sure it will climb the charts with a bullet in Yankee-land," said one. "This isn't the real Lynyrd Skynyrd anyway. They should have taken a name like 'Obama's Politically Correct Sell Your Soul Make Believe Impostors' or something," opined another.

In an era of globalized and inclusive pop music, the fact that Lynyrd Skynyrd can adapt to changing attitudes about race and art is heartening. Maybe next they can hit the road with Neil Young?

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