It is completely true that Neil Young and Ronnie Van Zant were friends. Young even covers Skynyrd songs at his concerts. I just think that the verse in response to 'Old Neil' was classic.
I dig Neil Young, and he's probably the most famous Canadian artist (Celine Dion doesn't count).. but my allegiance definitely lies with Skynyrd in this one. If I had to be stranded on a desert island with either "Free Bird", or Young's entire collection.. I would take "Free Bird".