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Lynyrd Skynyrd - That Smell - Lyrics Meaning

That Smell was released in 1977 on the Lynyrd Skynyrd album, Street Survivors. It was written by Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins.

Gary Rossington, rhythm and lead guitarist for Lynyrd Skynyrd, was in a car accident on Labor Day weekend in 1976. He was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when he hit a large oak tree. This happened shortly before the band was scheduled to begin a tour. Rossington broke several bones, including both arms, legs, and wrists. He survived the crash, and because the band had to cancel some tour dates and postpone some recording projects due to his injuries, they fined Rossington $5000.

The results of the accident and of the substance abuse moved Ronnie Van Zant to write "That Smell". Van Zant was making an effort to control his drinking and fighting. Like many artists in the music business, he dealt with the pressures of life by turning to drugs and alcohol. The line, "Whiskey bottles and brand new cars, oak tree you're in my way" refers specifically to Gary Rossington's car crash. The "Prince Charming" in the song is also a reference to Rossington.

Meanings of other songs by Lynyrd Skynyrd:
Simple man