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Allman Brothers Band

Origin: Jacksonville, Florida

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Genres: Blues-Rock, Roots Rock, Southern Rock

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The penultimate American rock band, the Allman Brothers Band, formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1969 by brothers Duane Allman (slide guitar and lead guitar) and Gregg Allman (vocals, keyboards, songwriting), as well as Dickey Betts (lead guitar, vocals, songwriting), Berry Oakley (bass guitar), Butch Trucks (drums), and Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson (drums).

As capsulized in the Allmusic entry, “the story of the Allman Brothers Band is one of triumph, tragedy, redemption, dissolution, and more redemption. Since their beginning in the late ’60s, they went from being America’s single most influential band to a shell of their former self trading on past glories, to reach the 21st century resurrected as one of the most respected rock acts of their era.”

After a series of unsuccessful late 60’s releases and band name and lineup changes, Duane Allman took the solo track and began working as a session guitarist at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. It was there, appearing on records by Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, John Hammond, and King Curtis, among others, that he made his reputation. In 1969, at the coaxing of ex-Otis Redding manager Phil Walden, Allman gave up session work and began putting together a new band, the one we know today.

The group’s first two studio releases stalled commercially, but their 1971 live release, At Fillmore East, represented an artistic and commercial breakthrough. The album features extended renderings of their songs “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and “Whipping Post”, and is often considered among the best live albums ever made.

ABB opened the way for a wave of ’70s rock acts from south of the Mason-Dixon Line, including the Marshall Tucker Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Blackfoot, whose music, at least initially, celebrated their roots. And for a time, almost single-handedly, they also made Capricorn Records into a major independent label.

Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, writing for Rolling Stone, wrote that the group “defined the best of every music from the American South in that time. They were the best of all of us.” He went on to call the band “a true brotherhood of players — one that went beyond race and ego. It was a thing of beauty.” The band’s extended popularity through heavy touring in the early 1990s created a new generation of fans, one that viewed the Allmans as pioneers of “latter-day collegiate jam rock.”

In 2012, the group was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award at the Grammys, a fitting addition to their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame status (which was conferred in 1995, the group’s first year of eligibility).

The Allman Brothers Band performed its final show on October 28, 2014 at the Beacon Theatre, New York. The show was the 238th straight sellout for the band at the Beacon. During the night’s intermissions, a video screen displayed a message: “The road indeed goes on forever. So stay calm, eat a peach and carry on…

Discography

The Allman Brothers Band (1969)
Idlewild South (1970)
At Fillmore East (1971)
Eat a Peach (1972)
Brothers and Sisters (1973)
Win, Lose or Draw (1975)
Wipe the Windows, Check the Oil, Dollar Gas (1976)
Enlightened Rogues (1979)
Reach for the Sky (1980)
Brothers of the Road (1981)
Seven Turns (1990)
Shades of Two Worlds (1991)
An Evening with the Allman Brothers Band: First Set (1992)
Where It All Begins (1994)
An Evening with the Allman Brothers Band: 2nd Set (1995)
Peakin’ at the Beacon (2000)
Hittin’ the Note (2003)
One Way Out (2004)

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