Allman Brothers' Chuck Leavell Pens Tribute to Gregg Allman

Rock trailblazer Gregg Allman, a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, has died age 69. I mean, even independent of all of the incredible things that they did musically, it was just such an act of dissent from the start.

Allman's official website also released a statement on his death. Jam bands, from Phish to Widespread Panic, also took their cues from the Allman Brothers Band's extended live performances of songs like the Gregg-Allman-written "Whipping Post", which, in the version that takes up the entire last side of double album At Fillmore East, is 23 minutes long.

Undaunted this toughest of American bands survived to find commercial success away from the bars and halls with the splendid Eat A Peach and the groundbreaking Brothers and Sisters which includes the perennial favourite "Ramblin" Man'.

The 1970s brought more highly publicized turmoil: Allman was compelled to testify in a drug case against a former road manager for the band and his marriage to the actress and singer Cher was short-lived even by show business standards. He was later found to have hepatitis C and received a liver transplant in 2010. The cause of Allman's death hasn't been released.

The Allman Brothers Band likewise split up in the 1980s and then re-formed several times over the years.

The brothers began playing and recording with various bands (the Allman Joys and the Hour Glass) and moved to L.A. Duane managed to escape the Hour Glass' stifling record contract, but Gregg continued to languish under the label as a solo artist before returning home to the south- and to his brother- to front the Allman Brothers Band in 1969.

The long-haired musician eventually won the heart of another music star - Cher. Allman wrote numerous band's early hits, played keyboards and sang in the group, which in its early years also featured his brother Duane. In fact, I was about to call him to check and see how he was when I got the call.

Allman was a onetime Tampa Bay-area resident, living in Anna Maria Island for about six years.

Allman kept a low profile for much of the 1980s - his gritty sound didn't fit the synth-pop trends of that era - although he made a comeback with his 1987 album I'm No Angel, which became a surprise hit on rock radio.

The group later added bassist Berry Oakley, percussionist Jai Johanny Johanson (known as Jaimoe) and Betts and became the Allman Brothers Band.

In 1975, Cher and Allman married three days after she divorced her husband and singing partner, Sonny Bono. They had just finished Capricorn Studios in Macon, Georgia - and that was a great studio with all of 12 tracks - and I said we've got a perfectly good studio here. The band established a tradition of playing a multinight residency at New York City's Beacon Theater once a year for most of two decades.

Vanessa Coleman

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