GUITAR GOD DUANE ALLMAN | BEHIND THE ALLMAN BROTHERS’ SOUND

Duane Allman Brothers

October 16th, 1971, inside of two weeks before Duane’s death on Oct. 29th. Gregg Allman, Duane Allman, & Berry Oakley above. Duane and Berry died in separate motorcycle accidents– Duane in 1971 and Berry in 1972. 

.

There’s an overwhelming feeling of worldly injustice and “what could’ve been”, when someone so gifted and young is taken from us like Duane Allman was.  The only consolation we have (and a sweet one it is), are the incredible tracks he laid down with The Allman Brothers Band, Derek and the Dominoes, and his session works in the studio with great artists like Aretha Franklin, King Curtis, B.B. King, and Clarence Carter.  And if you think he was just a great slide player and string bender– check out the blistering lead work on You Don’t Love Me.

I can’t believe that 38 years have already passed since the day Duane Allman hopped on his Harley after a party in Macon, Georgia– not knowing it would be for the last time.  He only got a few miles down the road, when a truck turned in front of him and Duane clipped it’s back end.  Allman lost control, and the Harley landed on top of him, sustaining injuries that would take his life within a few short hours. The lead guitarist of the Allman Brothers Band, who was gaining huge acclaim for his exciting and innovative sound and style, was dead at age 24.

Jerry Wexler’s eulogy for Duane sums it up best: “This young and beautiful man who we love so dearly but who is not lost to us, because we have his music, and the music is imperishable.”

Amen, brother.  Amen.

November 24th, 1969, Muscle Shoals, Alabama– Wilson Pickett and Duane Allman.

.

allman brothers band at filmore east

The Allman Brothers at Fillmore East

.

Berry Oakley Duane Allman July 1971

Berry Oakley & Duane Allman, July 1971

.

Allman Brothers band

May 5th, 1969, Muscle Shoals, Alabama– Members of the Allman Brothers Duane Allman, Dickey Betts, Gregg Allman, Jaimo, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks.

.

Greg Allman

Duane Allman on acoustic guitar

.

Duane Allman

Duane Allman Fishing, circa 1971

.

Duane Allman Brothers

Duane Allman in the recording studio

.

Duane Allman funeral

The Allman Brothers Band members perform at Duane Allman’s funeral in Macon, Georgia 1971 — Image by © Jeff Albertson

.

My father was murdered when I was two. Duane, even though he was only a year and 18 days my elder, he became a father figure to me. I would have done anything for my brother – I loved him so much.” –Gregg Allman 

.

Gregg Duane Allman

October 16th, 1970, Muscle Shoals, Alabama– The Allman Brothers, Gregg & Duane Allman

.

Duane Allman

Duane Allman smokin’ his Gibson Les Paul.

.

Greg Allman, circa 1970s.

Greg Allman, circa 1970s.

.

Gregg Allman on guitar, circa 1970s.

Gregg Allman on guitar, circa 1970s.

.

Duane Allman

Duane Allman on a Gibson SG.

.

Dickey Betts Allman Brothers band

Dickey Betts, circa 1970s.

.

duane allman les paul

Duane Allman wailin’ on his Les Paul guitar.

.

Remember Duane Allman

REMEMBER DUANE ALLMAN– Memorial to Duane Allman on a roadside embankment outside of Vicksburg, Mississippi.

25 thoughts on “GUITAR GOD DUANE ALLMAN | BEHIND THE ALLMAN BROTHERS’ SOUND

  1. Great post! Rarely a week goes by that I don’t listen to the ABB in some form (8.26.71 A&R Studios with a sweet You Don’t Love Me>Soul Serenade>You Don’t Love Me, is a favorite). I believe it was Warren Haynes who commented that anyone who grew up in the 1970s and wanted to learn to play slide had to grapple with the style of Duane Allman. Very well done tribute to a giant.

  2. once…when i was a little girl i got into a hotel elevator with the allman bros.. i worked up the nerve to ask duane if he was in fact DUANE ALLMAN…he smiled and said yes just as the elevator doors opened… my girlfriend and i burst into giggles and ran away….lol
    xoxo

  3. Thanks for all the effort to bring this together. Listened to the ABB in the car on the way into work. Duane’s my morning OJ, and seeing your work was like getting a free refill. Long live the spirit of Brother Duane Allman.

  4. Great post & great pictures. If memory serves correctly, 1971 is pre- Nik-Nik – probably started in 72-73. Anyway, The Allmans are still playing regularly with Butch Trucks’ nephew Derek Trucks & Warren Haynes doing the guitars. They did a great run last Spring at the Beacon Theater in NY to celebrate their 40th anniversary with guests including Eric Clapton, Phil Lesh, Levon Helm, Buddy Guy, etc, etc. Pretty amazing shows!

  5. Great post on a band that musically is incredibly diverse. None other then Eric Clapton recognized how great Duane was and the stories of their recording session from Layla are Miami legend Many have attested that Clapton’s most notable riff from Layla was a Duane throw away. I really think that the Allman Brother’s catalog is influenced by and is sort of a total tour of American Southern Music-from deep blues, the Stax Sound, Muscle Shoals, the Opry ( Dickie Betts influence ), some Sun records influence, and blue grass. When you blended it all together it was this great gumbo. I can still turn on “Blue Sky” and listen to Duane and Dickie go dueling guitar solo’s and it always makes me feel good.

  6. Excellent post. I picked up my guitar and started playing again after listening and really HEARING Duane’s guitar playing a while back. I grew up with it and never really took the time to hear what it was, I always blew it off as my dad’s music. Now that I’m long passed the stage of disliking things simply because it’s something my parents enjoyed I can see the genius in it. (Funny side note: I have had a toned down version of Duane’s mustache sideburns combo for a few years now and never knew what to call it, when I saw the man himself with it in some pictures it became the Duane Allman)

    • I was a kid in the 70s, and all the guys in my parent’s circle of friends looked like they stepped straight out of the Allman Brothers Band– complete with beard/cop combos, ‘staches, etc. Like you, I definitely think of Gregg/Duane whenever I see this look.

  7. Great post and pictures — great comments from readers. I am a huge fan — the ABB are on regular rotation on my ipod (mostly Live at the FE and Eat a Peach). I’ve saw them a number of times in the late 1990s with Dickey Betts and Warren Haynes trading licks. I am a big Dickey fan, actually (love his style of playing). They are one of the best live bands of all time, IMHO. The ABB stuff with Duane obviously is their best stuff, and his playing with Clapton on the Layla album truly is remarkable.

  8. I was listening just this morning on to the 1st CD from the Allman Bros Anthology. The SOUL that shines through is chilling for me. Some songs I listen to, hit the button, listen again and end up hearing one song 5 times before I can allow it to play the next one. Many know them for the rich southern music culture which they truly epitomized but they were also technically incredible and tight.

  9. Chris hit THE nail on the head – SOUL – that’s what Duane and the ABB were/are all about. Soul, and its progenitor, the BLUES. Yeah, Dickey added a little bit of country/Bob Wills to the Brothers, and his instinctual understanding of how to overlay the happiness of that swing with the sadness of the blues is way underestimated. Dickey had a musical songwriting discipline that the rest of the “Brothers” (post-Duane) loved and hated – they loved the $ it brought them, but they hated its structure/lack of freedom. Blue Sky will forever be my favorite Brothers tune… musically, it has to be related to Dixie, which would account for its deep dwelling within the Southern consciousness.

    While Jimi probably equates to Jordan (beyond comparison), Duane in skin color and capability, equates to Larry Bird. Both were Caucasian geniuses playing in a black man’s game, and both have been unequalled by anyone else other than JH and MJ.

    Footnote: Berry Oakley may be the most underrated bass player ever. He would problably equal or surpass Phil Lesh if he had lived. He jammed like a lead guitar play and still (most of the time) held down the groove.

  10. I will argue till the day I die that the Allman Bros Band was the greatest and most influential American rock band.
    Realize I’m late to the table, as always, but thanks for this post.

  11. This is a great site for Duane. I just read Skydog and I cannot tell you how many times I cried reading the book. The pain of him never knowing how great he was or the legacy that he left behind. The pain of his being so poor and the drug abuse and the way he died. The pain of never knowing how many other songs or albums that he would have been involved with kills me. His music with the ABB or Layla and other Assorted Love Songs moves me like no other music. Nothing will ever replace his music-nothing. When I die, he his the first person I want to meet after God.

  12. Just to clarify the statement that Duane clipped the truck on that fateful day. Duane did NOT contact the truck at all. The truck was not in his way. Duane was going way too fast and became airborne as he came over the crest of the hill. When he landed, he lost control of the bike and flew over the handle bars. The bike then bounced in the air, landed on top of Duane, then continued down the street. The truck had completed it’s turn. That is how it happened.

  13. Nice site! Just read Skydog – prety good, a little short on the musical descriptions of the songs themselves. Another good read: Midnight Riders, the Story of the A. Bros. Band
    How does one fiond a copy of the video that these clips came from?

  14. Twenty-Four Years Old. Duane. Died too young when they were too “un-popular”. He’s overlooked by the wider community and that is a sad mistake. There was nothing commercial about Duane and the ABB then. Can you imagine him marrying the likes of Cher? No. Can you imagine him drinking corn liqueur out of an old boot. Yes.

  15. Love it when he played with Delaney and Bonnie Bramlet……..saw them in Iowa City in 70…..

  16. The photo were Gregg and Duane are sitting at a picnic table states that this is in Muscle Shoals, Al. This is wrong as there is no spanish moss hanging from the trees this far north in Alabama. My guess would be south Alabama or south Georgia. But otherwise great stuff!

  17. Was in college in 71 when a roomie started playing the first album. I was totally blown away. I have kids now in their 30′s and if asked what the old man likes, the ABB will be first on their list.
    Even got the wife to listen to them and now she’s as big a fan as I am. Still love them, got every album, and will continue to buy them. Probably will have them played at my funeral. Too much of life to not be…
    Thanks for the info and the pictures. Great stuff
    Bill

  18. Wilson Pickett called him Skydog, he was always up, man. That’s what the music of the ABB with Duane means to me, it makes you happy and I’m glad many people here share this feeling. Today’s ABB is living testament to Duane’s love of playing, it sounds different but still truly great. Thanks to all at the ABB for keeping the music alive. The photo of the funeral is especially touching since it shows what they were up against.
    Great photos, I wish I could get the one with Duane, Gregg and Berry.
    Max

Comments are closed.