Another lost legend, but for memories and legacies still heard on the airwaves and internet I am so grateful their stories through their music always lives on.
We lost one of the greatest guitar players ever today, and now the brothers Duane and Gregg are together again.
Duane and Gregg Allman were born into a hard life as their father, having recently returned from the Korean War was murdered when he picked up a hitch hiker the day after Christmas- the boys were just 3 and 2 years old. Their mother didn’t listen to people who suggested she place the boys in an orphanage. Instead, she went to school and earned a CPA degree, and sent the boys to a military academy.
When the boys were just in their teens, the family moved to Daytona Florida. A few years later, a legend was born. Gregg remembered exactly when he got his first electric guitar “November 10th, 1960, at three o’clock that Saturday afternoon.” His older brother Duane got his a few months later.
Duane, always a motorcycle lover tragically died in a crash in late October, 1971 at the all too early age of 24. Tragedy struck a year later for the band, when their bassist Berry Oakley died when he had a motorcycle accident on November 11, 1972, in Macon, Georgia, just three blocks from where Duane had his fatal motorcycle accident the year before. He was also 24 years old.
Afterwards fans wondered how the band would survive, but survive they did because of Gregg. When asked about why they had been so popular, Gregg answered, “The real question is not why we’re so popular. I try not to think about that too much. The question is what made the Allman Brothers keep on going. I’ve had guys come up to me and say, ‘Man, it just doesn’t seem like losing those two fine cats affected you people at all.’
“Why? Because I still have my wits about me? Because I can still play? Well that’s the key right there. We’d all have turned into f***ing vegetables if we hadn’t been able to get out there and play. That’s when the success was, Jack. Success was being able to keep your brain inside your head.”
Last night we had an open thread about pictures telling our stories. Well, with that, music has always added to our stories, or sometimes even played our own stories in ways we could never describe them.
Growing up, my musical influences ranged from big band greats of Glenn Miller, early Jazz legends such as Count Basie and Duke Ellington, golden voices of Ella- to similar smooth as honey tones of Mama Cass, and rock and roll greats as the Allman Brothers among so many others. Being the baby of the family, I was subjected to everyone else’s musical favorites, but it gave me a well-rounded musical upbringing I wouldn’t change for the world.
Some of the music I drifted away and then re discovered them later on my own terms.
The Allman Brothers is one such band I never drifted away from loving. I grew up with the song Ramblin’ Man, and little did I ever figure I’d be ramblin’ down Highway 41 in my 20’s as I started a new life in the south, and again through one of the hardest times of my life, listening to them on my cd player as I drove back to Canada by myself needing time for critical choices and decisions in ending a 10 year ‘marriage’.
Through my struggles for a few years, for some reason, the Allman Brothers was my go to for music- to pick up my mood, to help me to cry, to help me heal.
I think we all have bands and groups that help us through the worst times, just as we have them for our happiest times, which makes it almost as hard as losing a family member when we lose them. While most of us have never known our favorite musicians, they have been with us through all of our best and worst.
Welcome to Saturday Night.