Published September 21, 2012
When Star Traveler wanted get the 411 on all of Alabama's hot spots, who better to go to other than the band that wrote the anthem to the Heart of Dixie, Lynyrd Skynyrd.
The singers of the rock classic "Sweet Home Alabama" have been on the rock scene since the 1960s, and to this day is the band still epitomizes Southern culture.
Originating from Jacksonville, Fla., Lynyrd Skynyrd became wildly famous for their hits like their ode to Alabama and "Free Bird."
Lynyrd Skynyrd's catchy mix of rock and country played a huge part in their success in the 1970s, with classic albums like "Second Helping" and hitting double platinum.
In 1977 the band was involved in a plane crash killing three of the bands founding members including frontman Ronnie Van Zant. Following the tragedy it looked as though the band was finished, but they prevailed and continue today to spread Southern rock throughout the country. Just this week their latest album "Last Of A Dyin' Breed" debuts on the Billboard 200 at number 14.
However, it was that infectious guitar lick of a 38-year-old song that prompted Fox411 to sit down with remaining members Johnny Van Zant, Gary Rossington, Rickey Medlocke to discuss what to do in the state that's the namesake of their most famous song "Sweet Home Alabama."
Johnny Van Zant: Go fishing. Go to Muscle Shoals (Sound Studio). Go down and see the Alabama (Music) Hall of Fame, it’s really cool. We did a benefit show down there a few years back and raised money for it. Very cool thing.
Rickey Medlocke: It’s called the aeronautical museum in Huntsville (US Space & Rocket Center). That’s very interesting. And I’ll tell you what’s really interesting, go to Muscle Shoals Alabama and go to Mama’s Kitchen in Russellville and have a piece of pecan pie.
Gary Rossington: And there’s a coon dog cemetery (Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard) there for old hunting dogs. It’s the biggest in the world. I know that sounds funny but there’s coon dogs, hunting dogs from all over the world come there to get buried. Like Duke from The Hillbillies the old bloodhound he’s buried there.
Johnny: We have stuff in the Alabama Hall of Fame.
Gary: There’s the Hall of Fame. There’s some big studios there that a lot of people, not just us, recorded; Sonny and Cher, The Stones and Joe Cocker, Aretha Franklin. There’s a lot of history there.
Fox411: What should you pack for a trip to Alabama?
Rickey: If you’re going to be in Alabama, what to pack? You better pack some sunscreen down there because it gets hot but it’s a great place to go to.
Johnny: What’s funny is we’re all from Florida.
Gary: We just love it. It’s just a great place. Every place is, in America, they are all great but Alabama is great.