According to guitarist Gary Rossington, for two years after Allen Collins wrote the initial chords, vocalist Ronnie Van Zant insisted that there were too many for him to create a melody in the belief that the melody needed to change alongside the chords. After Collins played the unused sequence at rehearsal one day, Van Zant asked him to repeat it, then wrote out the melody and lyrics in three or four minutes. The guitar solos that finish the song were added originally to give Van Zant a chance to rest, as the band was playing several sets per night at clubs at the time. Soon afterward, the band learned piano-playing roadie Billy Powell had written an introduction to the song; upon hearing it, they included it as the finishing touch and had him formally join as their keyboardist. Rossington has stated in many interviews that many wanted them to reduce the duration of the song in order for it to fit radio station air play format, typically about 3-4 minutes. Van Zant and the others refused and kept the song’s length as-is, even though they were warned that “It will never get air play being that long”. Despite the length of the song, it is often played in at least a 10 minute length on many rock stations to the present day.