Lynyrd Skynyrd – Was I Right Or Wrong

This song tells a tragic tale of a son going off for fame and coming back home for the acceptance of his parents but he finds out…they died. They recorded this track in Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama. It was before they were signed to a contract. Shooting Star which came after this song…. covered a small portion of this but the star in this song lives but doesn’t get satisfaction out of the outcome.

At first I got lost, then I got found
But the ones that I loved were in the ground

It was on an album called First and Last. It was released in 1978 after the crash. It covered the demos they made at Muscle Shoals. The owners of the studio thought they would be signed because their songs were very good and they had everything arranged before recording…so it was quick. After they were not signed…Ronnie Van Zant promised the recording studio owners that he would mention them in a song if they hit. They thought…yea right! A man of his word…a couple of years later in Sweet Home Alabama he did “Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers and they’ve been known to pick a song or two (yes they do).

I wouldn’t dare compare this to a normal release but it has it’s charm all the same and shows how advanced the band was in the early seventies. Van Zant worked his band members hard to get them in shape. They practiced in an old cabin with no air conditioning in Florida. He would make them go through songs until they were perfect…they nicknamed the place Hell House.

Ronnie Van Zant was a great and sometimes underrated songwriter. The band members have said that he never wrote lyrics down on paper. The band would be practicing and he would hear a riff or a chord progression he liked and would tell them to keep going through it over and over. After thinking about it he would start singing what he came up with.

They were not a jam band (again the Allmans were) but a song band that played their 3-5 minute songs and got off the stage with the exception of the lengthy Free Bird. They were planning to release this before the crash.

No one wanted to sign them because they couldn’t figure out what they were. Record executives said they sounded too much like The Allman Brothers. Which that in itself is just stupid. The executives thought anyone from the south sounded like the Allmans. The Allmans had jazz influences and Lynyrd Skynyrd drew inspiration from British acts like Free and lead singer Paul Rodgers. They were completely different in every way.

Al Kooper met and signed them to a contract back in 1973. Kooper had worked with Jimi Hendrix, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, and Bob Dylan. He said Lynyrd Skynyrd were the best arrangers of songs he ever met plus the most organic musicians he worked with. That is high praise coming from Al Kooper.

Another song off of this album is called Comin’ Home which is really good.

Was I Right Or Wrong

Like a restless leaf in the autumn breeze,
Once, I was a tumbleweed
Like a rolling stone, cold and all alone,
Livin’ for the day my dream would come

Never cared for school or any golden rules
Papa used to always say I was a useless fool
So I left my home to show ’em they was wrong
And headed out on the road, singin’ my songs

Then one sunny day, the man, he looked my way
And everything that I dreamed of, it was real
Money, girls, and cars and big long cigars
And I caught the first plane home so Papa would see

When I went home to show ’em they was wrong
All that I found was two tombstones
Somebody tell me, please, was I right or wrong?
Lord, it’s such a sad song

At first I got lost, then I got found
But the ones that I loved were in the ground
Papa, I only wish you could see me now
Take a listen Papa, I learned how to play my guitar, superstar
Play one for momma now

If there’s any way that you can hear what I say
Papa, I never meant to do you wrong
All the money, girls, and cars,
And all the world’s long cigars,
Papa, I just want you to know,
They couldn’t take your place

When I went home to show ’em they was wrong,
All that I found was two tombstones
Somebody tell me please, was I right or wrong?
Lord, it’s such a sad song
At first I got lost, then I got found
But the ones that I loved were in the ground
Somebody tell me, please, was I right or wrong?


Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

30 thoughts on “Lynyrd Skynyrd – Was I Right Or Wrong”

      1. I was going to mention in a blog hopefully later today, anyone who’s got Matt chapman in a pool is off to a pretty decent start – .475 avg, 14 rbi… I did say he had potential to hit!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. First time hearing this song, and knowing the back story and when it was released makes it so very sad, which he even says in there. It almost feels like it was a premonition. I like how they start out slow, then kick in with the jamming, then go back to slow. It’s a powerful format.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No I’ve checked…I do share a birthday with him lol…kinda like a minature southern Springsteen – Ray Davies. Just ordinary life.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. P.S. Talking about Lynyrd Skynyrd, Gimme Three Steps brings back some cherished memories. It was on the jukebox at a little bar I used to hang out at when I was a young wild child. I was dating a guy — who was also a wild child — that reminded me of the singer in this song. He was my brother’s best friend. Later, he was killed in a freak accident. I think of him every time I hear this song:

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is terrible…sorry about that. Life is so quick and fragile.
      This song is true…Van Zant’s hair was yellow and yes he did have a gun in his face at The Jug.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Life goes by so quick. Way too fast for those of us left behind. And, I’ll say it again, hearing a particular song just whips you back to that time and place. Some days thats a blessing, some days…

      Liked by 2 people

  3. One of the many sadnesses about the crash was that they had just begun a new chapter, with the introduction of Steve Gaines on the Street Survivors album. Who knows what other great tracks they would have gone on to produce.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cool tune! First time I heard it. I also never listened to the “Skynyrd’s First” album. Come it think of it, while I know tunes from many of their albums, their only records I’ve listened to entirely are their first two studio albums, as well as their first two live albums, “One More From the Road” (1976) and “Southern by the Grace of God” (1988).

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      1. I have him on Spotify right now. He has an album called “Lost/Found” that looks like music he recorded back in 1980 and they found in 2013. Maybe stuff he did with Al Kooper

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