Remembering Gregg Allman: Band Leader and Southern Rock Pioneer

The Allman Brothers Band may just be one of the most iconic bands to come out of the 1960s, which is why some people may find their origins a little surprising. Gregg Allman writes about the origins of the Allman Brothers Band in his memoir My Cross to Bear, revealing that the band was brought about by an electrifying Otis Redding concert that Gregg and his brother, Duane, attended back in the mid-60s.

Unfortunately, this would be short-lived, as Duane had an unfortunate motorcycle accident on October 29, 1971. Gregg too has since passed following a long battle with liver cancer – he died on May 27, 2017. Despite this, Gregg Allman has cemented his legacy in more ways than one. That being said, let’s take a moment to remember Gregg Allman and the Allman Brothers Band and how their influence persists even through death.

Musical Influence


The Allman Brothers Band were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame back in 1995 along with Frank Zappa, Janis Joplin, and Led Zeppelin. The esteemed company they shared is a testament to just how big the Allman Brothers Band is and why they were considered as one of the best musical acts to come out of the south.

The Allman Brothers Band’s music can be described as a mix of jazz, blues, and country. This explains why Duane Allman mostly preferred to plug his guitar straight into the amp, as jazz and blues musicians preferred this more straightforward sound. He mostly steered clear of using effects pedals, apart from the Dunlop Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face which was also a favorite of Eric Johnson, another influential guitarist from the south. This isn’t to say that Gregg couldn’t hold his own music-wise.

Gregg is known as one of the best blues singers of all time. He was also no slouch on the guitar, as he’s known as one of the pioneers of Southern Rock. This is a fact cemented by his very own Washburn signature guitar, the Melissa, which was released back in 1995 and named after the second single off Eat a Peach.

The Last Years


Gregg was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2014 but persisted to tour and make music even after being told he had 12-18 months to live. In 2015, he held the All My Friends concert, serving as a retrospective on Gregg’s long and illustrious music career. Two years after his diagnosis, Gregg recorded his last album Southern Blood in 2016 with his longtime band. He went on the Southern Blood album tour as long as his body would let him.

But it wasn’t all about music, as Gregg launched music scholarships in the form of the Gregg Allman Music Scholarship Endowment at the University of Georgia, which helped those in need to pursue a career in the field. He was also very vocal when North Carolina passed House Bill 2 back in 2016, a law that revoked the protection that transgender people had to use public restrooms based on their gender identity.

Billboard points out that even though Gregg had not canceled his show in North Carolina, he strongly opposed the law, even going as far as to say that it was sad and infuriating that such a discriminatory law had been passed in the first place. Gregg believed that the passing of the legislation does not represent the kind of people that live in the state, and it would be more productive to show up and unite people in opposition.

If that last bit inspired you, check out our article on the rainbow crosswalk installed at the intersection of Cooper & Young.

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