BY: Ethan Herzinger
Gregg Allman, lead singer of Southern Rock’s most influential and co- founder of the Allman Brothers Band, died of of liver cancer failure this spring on May 27th, 2017.
Born on December 8th, 1947 in Nashville, Gregg Allman was the youngest child in the Allman family. His older brother Duane, who was the founder of the Allman’s as well as the lead slide guitarist, was born a year earlier in 1946. After moving to Jacksonville, Florida, Allman was influenced by music at an early age, thanks to his older brother having a guitar lying around the house.
Allman and his brother were eventually acquainted with music and formed two bands prior to the Allman Brothers called The Allman Joys and Hour Glass. However, it all came together for Alman in 1969, when the Allman Brothers band was formed and their first album, their self titled debut, The Allman Brothers Band was released.
What made the band stand out from the rest of the bands on the circuit, was that the Allman’s were influenced by many genres including blues, gospel, soul, and jazz. Gregg’s voice particularly shines on his own composition “Not My Cross to Bear.” With Gregg’s opening blues screech and Duane’s slide playing in the key of B, you knew these guys meant business.
Allman has been called the best White blues singer of the 20th century and for good reason. His voice absolutely shined on the Allman brothers first live album Live At the Fillmore East .
When his brother Duane died in a motorcycle accident on October 29th, 1971, life for the Allman’s seemed short. However, with the release of 1972’s posthumous album without founder Duane, Eat a Peach, the band was back on top of their game if not better than before. Gregg’s voice particularly shines on the bluesy live take on “One Way Out”, when the band stops and Gregg’s voice does improvisation , and his own composition , “Melissa” .
Allman however also had a successful solo career with his 1973 solo masterpiece, Laid Back, which includes his best version of Midnight Rider and a cover of Jackson Browne’s These Days.
The rock community mourned on May 27th, 2017 when news of his passing was released. I, personally, was extremely crushed. I loved the Allman’s from a young age, and was inspired by Greg’s singing and the band’s guitar work. I was very fortunate and blessed to have seen the Allman’s play their final show at the Beacon Theater in New York City on October 14th, 2015.
Gregg Allman , the greatest southern rock blues singer who has ever lived , will never been forgotten, You are free from the Whipping Post. Fly high, you midnight rider.