Lynyrd Skynyrd – Cry For The Bad Man

This is one of the many songs in rock and roll about a manager. It is a deep album cut that I’ve always liked. 

Cry For The Bad Man is about Alan Walden, Skynyrd’s manager before they signed with Peter Rudge. Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant was very close to Walden and even served as best man at his wedding, but he was outvoted in the decision to fire him. Walden later explained that he tried to keep the band financially sound and get them to be responsible with their money, but they rejected these efforts. 

Walden was trying to get them to watch their money at a time when they just got the opening slot for The Who. Keith Moon liked the band and taught them costly habits like trashing hotel rooms and drinking the best liquor. Van Zant would later state that he regretted writing this song. Alan Walden’s brother was Phil Walden who managed The Allman Brothers. 

The song was on the 1976 album Gimme Back My Bullets. The band was short one guitar player when they made the album. Ed King had left in the middle of a tour in 1975. It’s still a good album but not as strong as the previous three. After this album, they were looking for a 3rd guitarist. Leslie West of Mountain auditioned but he wanted to change their name to Lynyrd Skynryd featuring Leslie West…Ronnie Van Zant put an end to that. 

Gimme Back My Bullets peaked at #20 on the Billboard Album Charts, #73 in Canada, and #34 in the UK. 

Their backup singer Cassie Gaines started to tell them about her brother Steve who played guitar and would be a good fit. They thought…sure Cassie I’m sure your little brother is great. She kept pestering them until they finally gave him a chance when they played in Kansas. Steve Gaines got up on stage and blew them all away. Not only was he great…he was probably better than most guitarists in big bands at the time. He changed their sound to a more blues/jazz feel along with the rock.

They would bounce back that year with Gaines and cut the live album One More From The Road which peaked at #9 in the Billboard Album Charts, #49 in Canada, and #17 in the UK in 1976. The live versions of Gimme Three Steps and Free Bird are the versions most people remember.

Cry For The Bad Man

Well he walks so tall to be so small
Never met a man who´s stranger
He lives his life for a dollar sign
And to deal with him is dangerous
He knocked me down but I´m on my feet
Now I´m so much wiser
I´d rather quit and go back home
Than to deal with the money miser
Let´s cry for this bad man
I sing a song for the bad man

Well, you treat me right baby, I´ll treat you right
That´s the way its supposed to be
I put my faith down in my friend
And he almost put an end to me
Well I work seven days a week
Eight when I am able
When you take money from me you take food from my mama´s table
Let´s cry for this bad man
I wrote a song for the bad man

Oh baby you know who you are
Let´s cry for this bad man
I wrote a song for the bad man way down in Georgia

Well, you treat me right baby, I´ll treat you right
That´s the way its supposed to be
I put my faith down in my friend
And he almost put an end to me
Well, when you take my money baby when you hurt my family
I go walkin´ through the swamps without no shoes
Step on a snake it scares you
Let´s cry for this bad man
I wrote a song for the bad man
Oh let´s cry for this bad man
I wrote a song for the bad man

Oh baby straight to you
He´s so bad, so bad

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

14 thoughts on “Lynyrd Skynyrd – Cry For The Bad Man”

  1. Sounds complicated, the situation between the manager and the band. It’s too bad they flipped their lack of restraint into dissing the manager. It’s a good song. Glad you captured the nuances of the relationship in the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s more than enough asshat managers like Klein and Polley but then there are the ones trying to do right. But what bunch of young good ol’ boys want to listen to a guy telling them to keep it quiet, don’t try to ape you know who? Great post. And they obviously wanted a lot less of Les West.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Obbverse….Yea West wanted quite a bit of name recognition…I mean they had some hits under their belt by then…more than West at that point.

      Liked by 1 person

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