Did You Know?

Interesting facts and trivia about Simple Man. By Songfacts®.

Shortly after Ronnie Van Zant's grandmother and Gary Rossington's mother died, they got together in Van Zant's apartment and started telling stories about them. Rossington came up with a chord progression, and Van Zant wrote the lyrics based on advice the women had given them over the years. They wrote it in about an hour. "We just put down in a song what our mama or grandma had said to us," Rossington told Paul Ingles. "They really wrote it, we just played it."

"Simple Man" epitomized Ronnie Van Zant, who enjoyed friends, family, and a good time far more than anything money could buy. He held true to these values even after he found fame. Van Zant died in the <a href="https://calendar.songfacts.com/october/20/8337" target="_blank">1977 plane crash</a> that also claimed the lives of Skynyrd guitarist Steve Gaines and backup singer Cassie Gaines (brother and sister). When the band reunited and toured in 1987, they dedicated this song to him.

Even though the lyrics state, "Sit beside me, my only son," Ronnie was not the only son. He had two younger brothers along with one older sister and one younger sister. Those younger brothers are Donnie, who formed and fronted .38 Special; and Johnny, who took over as Skynyrd frontman after Ronnie's death.


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Key, BPM (tempo) and time signature of Simple Man.
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