Song Lyric Sunday — That Smell

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has given us “Odor,” “Scent,” “Smell,” and “Taste” for our theme. I was originally going to go with “A Taste of Honey” from the Beatles, but I was listening to some classic rock yesterday afternoon and heard Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “That Smell,” and thought that was the song to go with.

“That Smell” was recorded by the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd and was released in 1977 on the album Street Survivors. The song was written by Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Allen Collins. It was the second single released from Street Survivors and failed to chart.

Around that time, the band members had been drinking and doing a lot of drugs. This song told the story about Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington, who bought a new car, got drunk, and crashed it into a tree, then a house. The accident was described with the lyrics, “Whiskey bottles, brand new car, oak tree you’re in my way.” Van Zant was inspired to write the song as a warning about the consequences of careless overuse of drugs and alcohol.

The band was supposed to start a tour shortly after the album’s release, but had to postpone it because of Rossington’s injuries. Van Zant and guitarist Collins were pissed at Rossington, and the band fined him $5,000 for holding up the tour. After that, the band members made an effort to stay sober once the tour finally got underway. Drugs and alcohol were banned from the dressing rooms.

Sadly, Van Zant, Skynyrd guitarist Steve Gaines, and backup singer Cassie Gaines were killed in a plane crash a few days after Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1977 tour started. Some of the lyrics in this song refer to death, and the cover of the album, which had just been released, showed the band enveloped in flames.

Here are the lyrics to “That Smell.”

Whiskey bottles, and brand new cars
Oak tree you’re in my way
There’s too much coke and too much smoke
Look what’s going on inside you
Ooooh that smell
Can’t you smell that smell
Ooooh that smell
The smell of death surrounds you

Angel of darkness is upon you
Stuck a needle in your arm
So take another toke, have a blow for your nose
One more drink fool, will drown you
Ooooh that smell
Can’t you smell that smell
Ooooh that smell
The smell of death surrounds you

Now they call you Prince Charming
Can’t speak a word when you’re full of ‘ludes
Say you’ll be all right come tomorrow
But tomorrow might not be here for you (yeah you)
Ooooh that smell
Can’t you smell that smell
Ooooh that smell
The smell of death surrounds you

Hey, you’re a fool you
Stick them needles in your arm
I know I been there before

One little problem that confronts you
Got a monkey on your back
Just one more fix, Lord might do the trick
One hell of a price for you to get your kicks
Ooooh that smell
Can’t you smell that smell
Ooooh that smell
The smell of death surrounds you
Ooooh that smell
Can’t you smell that smell
Ooooh that smell
The smell of death surrounds you

Hey, you’re a fool you
Stick them needles in your arm
You’re just a fool, just a fool, just a fool

10 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — That Smell

  1. Maggie December 27, 2020 / 6:01 am

    What a sad story. I could never have lived that lifestyle.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. willowdot21 December 27, 2020 / 6:47 am

    A great song, the back story is sad as often it is with the famous who perish young. At least they curved the drugs at least ontour 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  3. newepicauthor December 27, 2020 / 7:12 am

    Such great guitar riffs in this song, nice choice Fandango. Ronnie did heroin and he would use matches to light his spoon, around him it was reeking of matches or the “smell of death” when he entered the studio.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. leigha66 January 1, 2021 / 7:21 am

    Good song choice. I never knew they had banned drugs from backstage.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.