SWEET HOME ALABAMA is an epic 1970’s tale about a group of rebel rock bands who rose up from one of the most marginalized parts of the USA – the Deep South – and conquered the world. Starting in 1968 with the assassination of Martin Luther King in Memphis, the film reveals how these white musicians rejected their redneck inheritance – giving the poor white southerner a voice and even helping Jimmy Carter win his presidency.
Initially, bands like the Allman Brothers & Lynyrd Skynyrd were up against quite unbelievable odds. The region was perceived as racist, backwards & insular, with an innate hatred of blacks, liberals & the counter-culture. Nonetheless, as SWEET HOME ALABAMA reveals, a determined group of rebellious, long-haired Southern musicians decided to stick it out and create a dynamic movement. By the mid-1970’s, their music was having a massive cultural and political impact in the South and across the States.
But SWEET HOME ALABAMA is also a Southern gothic tale of premature death and a terrible, fatal plane crash. Southern Rock’s rise was as quick as its fall. It’s an extraordinary saga full of grit, triumph, genuine tragedy & redemption, as long-haired, Harley-driving Southerners came together for a brief, magical moment – rejecting their past & tuning into their poetic soul.
DIRECTOR & PRODUCER: James Maycock
BROADCASTER: BBC TV / BBC Four
PROGRAMME DURATION: 60 minutes
PRODUCTION COMPANY: BBC Music Entertainment
BBC EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Mark Cooper
BBC COMMISSIONERS: Jan Younghusband / Richard Klein