Lynyrd Skynyrd — “Gimme Three Steps”
Here’s a classic track that got overlooked the first time around: It was on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1973 debut album, where it got overshadowed by a little number called “Free Bird.” It didn’t become known as a “greatest hit” until it appeared on Skynyrd’s live album a few years later (along with “Free Bird” again, of course). Unlike a lot of Skynyrd tunes, “Gimme Three Steps” is actually pretty funny: Thanks to the barroom misadventures it describes, singer Ronnie Van Zant narrowly escapes getting the crap beat out of him in all three verses. Catchy, good-timey and Southern as hell, it’s not a bad way to remember Van Zant’s talent. For authenticity, bring in some extra guitar players, and grow beards.
The Black Crowes — “Hard to Handle”
The song that launched the Black Crowes’ career was one of the only non-original tunes they ever recorded. Southern soul great Otis Redding wrote the song and recorded it first—While Redding also had a sensitive side, this one was all about ex and swagger. Which made it a perfect cover tune for many artists over the years, and “Hard to Handle” was one of the few songs done by both Tom Jones and the Grateful Dead. The Crowes kept the funky groove from Redding’s original and jacked up the guitars, mapping out the old-school Southern territory they’d explore for years to come. Chris Robinson (whose voice is faithfully covered here) proved to be one of the few white guys who could sing “Yes ah ram” and get away with it.
Rush — “Limelight”
Sooner or later, every rock star writes a song about rock stardom. Rush’s intrepid drummer/lyricist had a go with this number, which airs his mixed feelings on the subject. On one hand, he tells his fans that he doesn’t want to hang out with them (“I can’t pretend a stranger is a long awaited friend”), on the other he celebrates the larger spiritual bond between a band and its audience. These thoughts were wrapped in one of Rush’s catchiest tunes, which helped make 1980’s “Moving Pictures” their breakthrough album (originally, “Limelight” closed out the same album side that “Tom Sawyer” opened; and the two songs in between were no slouches either). “Limelight” also opened every show of Rush’s most recent tour in summer 2007. Have fun mastering the nuances of our faithfully executed cover version: You think covering a Rush song is easy?
“I Want My, I Want My DLC!”
The songs in Rock Band are only the beginning. Each week we’ll be rolling out more downloadable songs, essential tracks (and sometimes whole albums) from every era of rock history. Check the Rock Band website to find out what’s new.
Tracks will usually sell for $1.99 each; with three-pack specials costing $5.49. (On the Xbox 360, that’s 160 Microsoft Points per track and 440 per three-pack). Occasional special or discounted tracks may cost a dollar more or less.
Downloadable content for the Xbox 360 is available through the XBOX LIVE marketplace. Downloads for the PLAYSTATION 3 version of Rock Band are available through the PLAYSTATION Network Store. In each case, the songs are downloaded onto your hard drive.
If you’re playing solo, you can start rocking right away. For head-to-head or multiplayer online, all players will need to download the song.