[UPDATED] Allman Brothers Band Co-Founding Member Gregg Allman 1947 – 2017

By Scott Bernstein May 27, 2017 2:00 pm PDT


  • May 27, 2017 • 2:00 pm PDT

    Michael Lehman, Allman’s manager, told CBS News that Gregg died from complications of liver cancer while surrounded by his family. Head here for the remembrances that have come flooding in.

One of the patriarchs of the jam scene has passed, as The Allman Brothers Band co-founder Gregg Allman has died at age 69. Gregg had cancelled many 2016 shows and all 2017 performances due to illness. Allman’s passing was confirmed by a note posted on his website. The entire statement can be read below beneath our obituary.

Gregory Lenoir Allman was born in Nashville on December 8, 1947. His father, Willis Turner Allman was killed when he was 2-years-old and he was raised by his mother, Geraldine Robbins Allman who put herself through college and became a CPA to provide a good life for her sons Gregory and Duane. The Allman boys moved between Nashville and Daytona Beach, Florida with each discovering a passion for music and guitars. Gregg, who started on guitar and moved to keyboards, and his extremely talented guitar playing brother Duane started a few short-lived bands before forming Hour Glass with five other musician friends. Hour Glass relocated to Los Angeles, recorded a pair of albums and played a number of live shows. The LPs did not do well commercially and after Duane told off label executives the band broke up. Duane returned to the south while Gregg stayed in L.A. to finish out the band’s commitments.

Duane went on to do studio work in Muscle Shoals, Alabama before moving to Florida. Gregg’s older brother envisioned a group with two guitarists and two drummers. He rounded up drummers Jaimoe Johanson and Butch Trucks, guitarist Dickey Betts, bassist Berry Oakley and keyboardist Reese Wynans to form the band, but decided his brother would be a better fit on keys than Wynans. Duane called Gregg, who returned to Jacksonville and The Allman Brothers Band was formed in March 1969. The group soon moved to Macon, Georgia where they developed a sound that helped define Southern rock.



Gregg showed off his compositional skills writing such songs as “Whipping Post,” “Black-Hearted Woman,” “Dreams” and “It’s Not My Cross To Bear.” Later in 1969 they recorded and released a self-titled studio album that failed to sell well, but continued to gain a reputation for putting on a wild live show. In 1970 The Allman Brothers Band played over 300 concerts and released their sophomore effort, Idlewild South. The band hit the big time with the 1971 release of At Fillmore East, a live album found near the top of any reputable list of rock’s best live albums. Sadly, the group didn’t have long to enjoy their new success as Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1971.

Gregg and the band went on to finish and release the iconic Eat A Peach LP in 1972, but tragedy struck again late in the year when Oakley was killed in a motorcycle crash. The Allman Brothers Band welcomed Lamar Williams on bass and keyboardist Chuck Leavell to fill-out the now one-guitar lineup. Gregg started to have issues with his band mates and recorded a solo album titled Laid Back in 1975. The next year the band parted ways.

[I’m No Angel]

In 1976 Gregg Allman married actress/musician Cher and the two were tabloid favorites for the duration of their marriage which lasted until 1978. It was in 1978 The Allman Brothers Band reformed with a new lineup. This era lasted until January 1982, when the group disbanded once again. Gregg focused on solo work in the 1980s, scoring a surprise hit with “I’m No Angel.” He also started acting and eventually landed a role in the 1991 film Rush. In 1989 The Allman Brothers Band reformed with original members Allman, Betts, Jaimoe and Trucks joined by guitarist Warren Haynes, keyboardist Johnny Neel and bassist Allen Woody. While Neel quickly departed, the rest of the lineup lasted until 1997.

Throughout his life Gregg battled demons including alcohol and drug addiction. At the ABB’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1995, Allman was in a particularly bad state. When he later saw footage of the ceremony and the condition he was in he decided to quit drinking alcohol. The third act of the Allman Brothers Band introduced the group’s music to a new generation of fans and coincided with a jam scene they heavily influenced starting to take off. The Allman Brothers Band went through a handful of lineup changes between 1997 and 2001 before settling on a lineup that would stay intact until the band called it a career after a concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on October 28, 2014.

[No One To Run With]

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Gregg was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 2007 and struggled with other health issues including liver problems. Following the breakup of The Allman Brothers Band, Gregg put together a solo band that played a heavy schedule of shows in 2015 and towards the beginning of 2016. Last year, the band finished work on a new Gregg Allman studio album in Muscle Shoals and we await its future release.

Our thoughts are with Gregg’s friends and family. Gregg Allman was 69-years-old.

Read a note from Gregg Allman’s website:

It is with deep sadness that we announce that Gregg Allman, a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, passed away peacefully at his home in Savannah, Georgia.

Gregg struggled with many health issues over the past several years. During that time, Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans, essential medicine for his soul. Playing music lifted him up and kept him going during the toughest of times.

Gregg’s long time manager and close friend, Michael Lehman said, “I have lost a dear friend and the world has lost a brilliant pioneer in music. He was a kind and gentle soul with the best laugh I ever heard. His love for his family and bandmates was passionate as was the love he had for his extraordinary fans. Gregg was an incredible partner and an even better friend. We will all miss him.”

Gregg is survived by his wife, Shannon Allman, his children, Devon, Elijah Blue, Delilah Island Kurtom and Layla Brooklyn Allman; 3 grandchildren, his niece, Galadrielle Allman, lifelong friend Chank Middleton, and a large extended family. The family will release a statement soon, but for now ask for privacy during this very difficult time.

The family suggests that tributes to Gregg can be made to the Gregg Allman Scholarship Fund at The University of Georgia or the Allman/Lehman Endowed Scholarship at Syracuse University.

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