Michael Hayes reflects on Terry 'Bam Bam' Gordy and 'Freebird Road'
“I was listening to ‘Brickyard Road’ by [Lynyrd Skynyrd vocalist] Johnny Van Zant, which is a tribute song to his brother Ronnie, who died in a plane crash,” Hayes told WWE.com.
The connection between the legendary rock band and the Fabulous Freebirds is well documented. The Freebirds were the innovators on the entrance theme and their very first was the aptly titled Lynyrd Skynyrd classic, “Freebird.”
“For some reason, that particular time I was listening to the song, I started to notice the parallels between what the song was saying about Ronnie and how I felt about Terry,” Hayes explained. “When I got home, I told my wife about the idea for the song and knowing I sometimes don’t follow through with them she finally said, ‘Why don’t you shut up and just do it?’ ”
The tough love from Hayes’ significant other was enough to motivate him to devote his vacation time to crafting his tribute to Terry Gordy.
Gordy’s career began when he was just 13 years old. When he joined Michael Hayes and Buddy Roberts to form The Fabulous Freebirds, the trio became one of the most recognizable teams in sports-entertainment. They were loved and hated and shared rivalries in WCCW and NWA/WCW, most memorably with the Von Erichs. Throughout his career, Gordy held a number of championships including the WCW Tag Team Titles and the WCCW Six Man Tag Team Titles. However, the Chattanooga, Tenn., native was also an accomplished singles competitor, winning multiple championships in Mid-South Wrestling and WCCW including the NWA American Heavyweight Title.
“The purpose of doing this wasn’t just to record another song, it was to teach people about this guy who was just born to wrestle,” Hayes explained. “I think Jimmy Garvin (one of the Freebirds) said it best, ‘God put Terry Gordy on Earth to wrestle,’ and when you look at his career, it’s hard to argue with that. But more importantly, I wanted people to know the man outside of the ring.”
“It’s one thing to know the competitor and the man, but it’s another thing to know someone’s dad or husband, that puts a whole different spin on things and what the song really means,” Hayes told WWE.com.
For the WWE Universe, Hayes hopes that the song and music video for “Freebird Road” conveys that Gordy was much more than a tough competitor.
“I really hope that people are able to see what a fun-loving guy Terry was,” Hayes said. “As much as he was a tough guy inside the ring, he was the opposite at home. Terry was a really good guy and I wanted to introduce him to a whole new generation of wrestling fans.”
When Hayes originally stepped into the recording studio, his sound crew created an updated version of the song, something the former United States Champion appreciated, but he wanted to keep “Freebird Road” similar in tune to “Brickyard Road,” going as far as getting feedback from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Johnny Van Zant.
“Johnny and I go way back and when he listened to the song, he absolutely loved it,” Hayes explained. “It’s always a touchy thing rearranging someone else’s song, especially when it is a tribute to their loved ones, but Johnny’s positive reaction was really a super compliment.”
“This is one of those things that makes me content with my life,” Hayes said. “If I never do another thing with my life, I know I’ll be happy that I was able to honor my friend this way.”