Happy Anniversary ‘Eat A Peach’: Allman Brothers Band Play Double-Album Live
Today, February 12, marks the 48th anniversary of The Allman Brothers Band’s 1972 album Eat A Peach. While the half studio, half live double LP is widely considered one of the band’s best, the recording was fraught with tragedy.
The Allman Brothers had struggled to gain a commercial foothold with their first two studio albums, their 1969 self-titled debut and 1970’s Idlewild South. While the band was on the edge of success with the 1971 live album At The Fillmore East, the group — consisting at the time of guitarists Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, keyboardist Gregg Allman, bassist Berry Oakley and drummers Butch Trucks and Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson — began recording what was to be their third studio LP at Criteria Studios in Miami with producer Tom Dowd.
The band would lay down the initial tracking for “Blue Sky,” “Stand Back” and “Little Martha” (the only track on Eat A Peach credited solely to Duane Allman) in that time before heading back out on the road. But substance abuse problems plagued the band and crew and a number of the Allman camp, including Duane Allman, checked into rehab. But tragically — shortly after leaving rehab and returning to his hometown of Macon, Georgia — Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident on October 29, 1971. Unfortunately, bassist Berry Oakley would also die in a motorcycle crash on November 11, 1972, less than a year after Eat A Peach was released and just over of year after his friend Duane died.
While the Allman camp and indeed the entire music community was devastated, the band continued on with the album, their spirits buoyed by wanting to make the best record possible for Duane. They returned to Miami and recorded tracks like “Melissa” (Duane’s favorite on the album), “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More” (a song Gregg penned in memory of his brother) and the instrumental “Les Brers In A Minor.” The band rounded out the record with live tracks from their Fillmore East recordings including Elmore James’ “One Way Out” and Muddy Waters’ “Trouble No More.”
Although myths abound about the naming of the album, one of the stories goes that drummer Butch Trucks suggested the album be named Eat A Peach after a quote from Duane, “eat a peach for peace.” Despite the tragedy and uncertainty, Eat A Peace was released on February 12, 1972 and shot into the Top 5 of the Billboard 200 albums chart. It remains one of their best-selling records.
To celebrate the 48th anniversary of Eat A Peach, watch video of The Allman Brothers Band performing each song from the album over the years below: