For Flashback Friday, did you know that Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classic “Freebird” has another ending?

In the video above, I have it starting at the point where it begins to fade out on the original album.

By the time Skynyrd was hitting the studio for their first album, the song “Freebird” was a well-groomed ending to their club gigs. So it only made sense that they recorded it with a powerful ending. HOWEVER…producer Al Kooper faded the song out at 9 minutes, 12 seconds to end the album, and THAT’S the version most have heard for decades.

In 1989, Skynyrd released a greatest hits album, but it only came out in the U.K. It was the first time the entire song – the “Extended Music Version” – was available. It’s almost a minute longer.

My theory here is it was mixed for radio, and since the song was already around nine minutes, perhaps Kooper figured the shorter, faded-out version would be more palatable for music directors at radio stations. That’s just a guess, though!