“Sweet Home Alabama” is a song by the American rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. The song, written in response to songs by Neil Young critical of the American south and Alabama specifically, became one of their biggest hits and an anthem for both the state of Alabama and the American south. Online, the song has been parodied in myriad ways, particularly with jokes playing on the southern incest stereotype.
“Sweet Home Alabama” was released on April 15th, 1974 by Lynyrd Skynyrd on the album Second Helping. The song was later released as a single on June 24th of that year.
The song became an iconic part of southern culture over the following decades, charting at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has been used by the Alabama government both as a means of attracting tourism and the name is featured on state license plates. The film Sweet Home Alabama starring Reese Witherspoon is named after the song. It has been ranked as one of the best southern rock songs and best rock songs overall by several publications, including National Review, CMT, and Rolling Stone.
Online the song has been used as a way to amplify jokes about the stereotype of incestual relationships in the American south. This became particularly prevalent in the late 2010s, when several remixes on YouTube appeared in which a character would make an incest joke and then “Sweet Home Alabama” would play. For example, on November 7th, 2018, YouTuber sweetboimemes posted a mix of “Alabama memes” taken from Instagram, several of which used “Sweet Home Alabama” after an incest joke (shown below, left). On December 30th, WhizTV did the same, gaining over 60,000 views (shown below, right).
The joke also grew popular on Reddit around the same time. Several incest jokes from that time feature the title “Sweet Home Alabama.”
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