Gregg Allman (1947-2017)

Posted by: Erin Ward in Notable Deaths | July 12, 2021

Gregg Allman


December 8, 1947 – May 27, 2017


Gregg Allman, a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band passed away on Saturday, May 27, 2017 in his home in Savannah, Ga. according to multiple reports. He was 69. 

Allman founded the band alongside his brother Duane Allman and several other band members in 1969. He was known for his distinctly bluesy voice that was influenced by blues musicians like B.B. King and Muddy Waters. When Duane tragically died at the age of 24 in 1971, Gregg continued to lead the band, taking it to new heights of popularity and helping shape a new genre of music all together.

The Allman Brothers Band was influential throughout the Southern United States and helped to shape the direction of Southern Rock. This would help pave the way for other Southern Rock acts of the 1970s like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band.

Allman was the primary songwriter for the Allman Brothers Band and credited with writing the band’s classic hits “Melissa,” “Midnight Rider,” and “Whipping Post”. Throughout the first half of the 1970s, the band was at their peak releasing popular albums and selling out arenas and stadiums.

It was not always success for Allman and the band. Before the brothers would go on to success with the Allman Brothers Band, there were periods of struggle. The brothers moved to California and signed with Liberty Records in 1967. As a band named Hour Glass, they recorded two albums that failed both critically and commercially.

The brothers also had to avoid being drafted to the Vietnam War. They knew they were on the cusp of success and could not go to Vietnam if they were going to make it. Fortunately for Duane he had automatic deferment as he was the family’s oldest son and their father had died when the boys were young. Gregg on the other hand was the ideal candidate to be drafted. Duane purposed the solution that Gregg shoot himself in the foot to avoid being drafted. Gregg studied the anatomy of the foot and found a spot that wouldn’t cause too much damage. Ultimately, he drew a target and shot himself there. The plan proved successful as he was never drafted and able to continue touring and making music with his brother.

Allman also achieved success away from the band with a solo career. In total he released six studio albums as a solo artist. He also released an album alongside his wife at the time Cher, titled “Two the Hard Way”. His most recent solo project was the album “Southern Blood” which was scheduled to be released in 2017 but has not been as of yet.

For years Allman struggled with alcohol and drugs like heroin. In 1976 he was arrested on drug charges and agreed to testify against the band’s road manager Scooter Herring to avoid jail time. Allman did, and Herring was sentenced to 75 years in prison. The rest of the band saw this as a betrayal which was a factor that lead to the band’s first break up.

Over the years the band would reform and break up several more times. They could never achieve the early success they first had. Drugs and alcohol continued to play a part in the bands breakups later on. During a revival in the mid 1990s, Allman became sober and the band continued to tour and release music. In 1995 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They also received a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2012.

Gregg Allman was married and divorced six times but was unmarried at the time of his death. He is survived by his five children, Michael Sean, Devon, Elijah Blue, Delilah Island, and Layla Brooklyn.


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