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AllmanBrothersBand,The

band brothers duane formed

Allman Brothers Band, The, southern rock band, formed 1969. M EMBERSHIP: Duane Allman, 1st lead and slide gtr., voc. (b. Nashville, Nov. 20, 1946; d. Macon, Ga., Oct. 29, 1971); Gregg Allman, kybd., gtr., voc. (b. Nashville, Dec. 8, 1947); Richard “Dickey” Betts, 2nd lead and slide gtr., dobro, voc. (b. West Palm Beach, Fla., Dec. 12, 1943); Berry Oakley, bs. (b. Jacksonville, Fla., April 4, 1948; d. Macon, Ga., Nov. 11, 1972); Butch Trucks, drm. (b. Jacksonville, Fla.); Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson, drm. pere. (b. Ocean Springs, Miss., July 8, 1944).

The first—and probably the best—of the many blues-and country-oriented bands to emerge from the South in the 1970s, The Allman Brothers Band established themselves as one of the finest performing groups in the country through touring and the release of the live double-record set At Fillmore East . Propelled by the twin lead guitars of Dickey Betts and Duane Allman, a revered session man and perhaps rock’s greatest slide guitarist, The Allman Brothers Band helped open up rock to music created outside the recording centers of N.Y. and Los Angeles, and provided the impetus for the rise of other southern bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Charlie Daniels and Marshall Tucker bands. They persevered despite the deaths of Duane Allman in 1971 and Berry Oakley in 1972, only to disband for separate projects in 1974. The Allman Brothers Band regrouped from 1978 to 1982 and again in 1989 for touring and recording.

In 1958 Duane and Gregg Allman moved to Fla., where they formed their first band while still in high school. In 1965 the brothers assembled the regional band The Allman Joys, which lasted two years. They subsequently formed Hourglass for two albums on Liberty, only to split up in spring 1968 as Duane pursued session work in Muscle Shoals, Ala., backing Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, and many others. After Duane’s death this session work was compiled on two double-record sets entitled An Anthology .

The Allman Brothers Band was formed in the spring of 1969 after a jam session between Duane Allman and the members of the groups The 31st of February (which included Butch Trucks) and The Second Coming (which included Dickey Betts and Berry Oakley). Signed by Phil Walden, who subsequently formed Capricorn Records in the band’s adopted hometown of Macon, Ga., The Allman Brothers Band recorded their debut album for Ateo in 1969. It included the rock classics “It’s Not My Cross to Bear,” “Trouble No More,” and “Whipping Post.”

Duane continued his session work with Boz Scaggs (on his overlooked first album), Delaney and Bonnie (To Delaney from Bonnie), and, most notable, Eric Clapton (Derek and the Dominos’ Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs) . Duane declined Clapton’s invitation to join his group, and The Allman Brothers soon recorded Idlewild South, which contained Betts’s “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and Gregg’s “Midnight Rider.” Having established themselves as thrilling and dynamic performers, the band switched to Walden’s Capricorn label for their breakthrough live double-record set At Fillmore East, which included an outstanding 13-minute version of “Elizabeth Reed” and an extended version of Gregg’s “Whipping Post.”

On Oct. 29, 1971, Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident in Macon. The band subsequently abandoned their twin lead guitar configuration for 1972’s Eat a Peach, which contained the minor hits “One Way Out” and “Melissa.” Pianist Chuck Lea veil was added in October 1972, but on Nov. 11, 1972, Berry Oakley was fatally injured in a motorcycle accident, again in Macon. Despite the double loss, The Allman Brothers Band persevered, recruiting bassist Lamar Williams. Brothers and Sisters, from 1973, featured the instrumental “Jessica” and the band’s only Top Ten hit, Betts’s “Ramblin’ Man.”

Band members then pursued solo projects. Gregg Allman retained Trucks, Johanson, and Leavell for Laid Back, which produced a major hit single, “Midnight Rider,” and a tour in 1974, the year Betts recorded and toured in support of his first solo album, Highway Call Reunited for 1975’s Win, Lose or Draw, The Allman Brothers Band fragmented in 1976 following Gregg’s testimony against former road manager John “Scooter” Herring, who faced drug charges.

Subsequently Betts formed Great Southern with guitarist Dan Toler; Leavell formed Sea Level with Johanson, Williams, and guitarist Jimmy Nails; Butch Trucks assembled Trucks; and Gregg formed his own band for 1977’s Playin’ Up a Storm . In June 1975 Gregg married Cher (of Sonny and Cher fame) and endured a stormy marriage; the poorly received 1977 duet album Allman and WomanTwo the Hard Way; and a dismal European tour.

In October 1978 The Allman Brothers Band reassembled, with Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Johanny Johanson, Butch Trucks, and Dan Toler, plus David Goldflies from Betts’s Great Southern. Having resumed the double-lead- guitar format, the reconstituted Allman Brothers scored a major hit with “Crazy Love” from Enlightened Rogues . The group then switched to Arista Records for two albums before another breakup. Gregg Allman recorded two albums in the late ‘80s and reconstituted The Allman Brothers Band once again in 1989, with Betts, Trucks, Johanson, Toler, Goldflies, and others, for touring and recordings on Epic Records. Also in 1989, Chuck Leavell toured as one of the two keyboardists on The Rolling Stones’ Steel Wheels tour.

Allyson, June [next]

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