The Meaning Behind “That Smell” Lyrics By Lynyrd Skynyrd

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A series of events that would happen during 1976 would be the trigger for the leader and vocalist of Lynyrd Skynyrd Ronnie Van Zant with the collaboration of Allen Collins to compose another of their great songs, “That Smell.”

It was the year 1976 and the excesses and abuse of alcohol and drugs were common within the group. On the other hand, they were not enjoying very good criticism from the press because of this. Ronnie Van Zant decides to turn around and leave these abuses aware of the damage that they do to the image of the group, something of which some components are still not aware.

At the end of 1976, there were a series of car accidents suffered by various components of the group due to excesses. Alcohol, drugs, and driving are a bad combination. Billy Powell and Allen Collins are two of the components involved in both accidents, but the trigger would be the one suffered by Gary Rossington. On the weekend of the American holiday and there are a few days before the band begins its new tour, One More From The Road, and Gary Rossington can think of nothing else in his native Jacksonville (Florida) than to get behind the wheel of his Ford Gran Torino completely drunk. The result is the collision of the car against a telephone pole and an oak tree to end up literally embedded and parked in the garage of someone else’s house.

The accident is the trigger for Ronnie Van Zant along with Allen Collins to write the song That Smell, a clear warning about drug and alcohol abuse that was clearly directed at Rossington and some other member of the band. The track was included and released in 1977 in the fifth album of the band, “Street Survivors.” The One More From The Road tour had to be delayed due to injuries sustained by Gary Rossington, who was fined $5,000 by the band for his recklessness. From here on, drugs and alcohol were banned from the dressing rooms and the band strove to stay out of drugs and alcohol during the tour.

Listen to the song below: