“GREGORY’S GOING TO GET SCREWED-UP FROM TIME TO TIME– AND SO AM I.”

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“Our whole world as we knew it was shot to ratshit.  I ought to write a soap opera.” 

–Cher

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Being a child of the ’70s, the one over-riding vibe stuck in my memory is that it felt messy. Very messy. Nothing felt solid, like it could all collapse at any given time. Maybe we were all dealing with the after effect of the ’60s free love, drugs, rock & roll deal– only now there were kids, complicated relationships, and worldly responsibilities popping-up that we didn’t feel ready for and certainly didn’t fully embrace. Still hanging on to our freedom– no one wanted to admit it was time to grow up and get real. We graduated from pot to cocaine and hard drugs, and went back to our father’s crutch– booze. Too much.

Looking back on these pics of Gregg Allman and Cher, I’m struck by that feeling. Two messy lives, neither one able to get out of their own way, coming together for an epic meltdown. People magazine, and the like, would have all the coked-out celebrity fodder ever needed to fill the racks at the supermarket checkout lines. Business was strong. Life felt cheap. You better at least look fucking fabulous if you want to survive.

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Cher, smoking in bed, in the grip of a 1,000 yard stare… The Allman Brothers Band (and  fans) did not have kind words for Cher– likening her to their own ‘Yoko Ono’ for distracting Gregg and the resulting disintegration of the group. Truth is, Allman was seriously coked-out and a mess.  His weight dropping down to 125 lbs at one point. His head was all fucked-up from the loss of his beloved brother Duane Allman in a motorcycle wreck. Then, unthinkably, almost exactly a year after Duane’s tragic passing–  ABB bassist Berry Oakley also died in a motorcycle wreck only about a block away.   

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1973, San Francisco– Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band –Image © Neal Preston/Corbis. While with Cher, Gregg Allman found himself labeled a snitch for testifying against ABB’s road manager Scooter Herring in exchange for his own immunity in a drug case. Seems Scooter was busted for supplying Gregg with 1/2 gram of cocaine a day– he reportedly even saved Allman’s life once by resuscitating him during an overdose. Cher stood by her man claiming, “Gregory makes a great villain because he’s taken drugs. They acted as if he had turned his road manager into a drug dealer when it was the other way around.” Most folks didn’t see it Cher’s way. Allman’s name became mud in Macon– death threats were flying and the locals wanted his head. Even the federal judge on the case smelled a rat stating, “the person who ought to be prosecuted is Mr. Allman.” Gregg claimed things were cool between he and Scooter, and that they both understood what Allman had to say and do to escape a prison sentence. It was all cool. In Allman’s mind, if anyone was the fall guy it was him. Somewhere in the middle there lies the truth.

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June 30, 1975– Gregg Allman & Cher’s wedding photos.  The couple were wed (in Las vegas on a Lear jet) just 3 days after Cher’s divorce from Sonny Bono was finalized, and ironically, Cher would file for divorce from Allman a scant 9-10 days after the wedding. The two remained rockily married until 1979 and produced a child, Elijah Blue.

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December 14, 1975– With advance man, Earl Simms leading the way, Cher arrives with husband, Gregg Allman, backstage at the Mid-South Coliseum prior to The Allman Brothers Band set. –Image by © Barney Sellers/The Commercial Appeal. 

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1975– Cher arrives with husband, rocker Gregg Allman at The Dick Cavett Show. Things look tense. Allman is wearing a cast from busting his wrist in a recent motorcycle spill. –Image by © Ron Gallela/WireImage

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January 21st, 1977– Cher and Gregg Allman on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown for Jimmy Carter’s Inaugaration. –Image by © Ron Gallela/WireImage

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(Above Lt.) 1975– Glamorous portrait of singer Cher –Image by © Bettmann/Corbis

(Above Rt.) ca. 1973– Greg Allman in a motel room –Image by © Neal Preston/Corbis

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January 21st, 1977– Cher and Gregg Allman on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown for Jimmy Carter’s Inaugaration. –Image by © Ron Gallela/WireImage

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Superstar singer/performer Cher flaunting her 1970’s assets. 

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November 1977, Brussels, Belgium — Gregg Allman & Cher sing “Love the One You’re With” in concert. –Image by © Bettmann/Corbis

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January, 1975– ’70s Superstar Cher getting into her Ferrari Dino 246 –Image by © Douglas Kirkland/Corbis. Cher’s taste in cars ran a bit more exotic than Gregg Allman’s– she most notably tooled-around in a midnight blue Jensen Interceptor, while he was (and remains) a Corvette guy.

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Gregg Allman & Cher

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ca. 1975 — 1970’s Superstar Cher –Image by © Douglas Kirkland/Corbis

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(Above Lt.) Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band –Image by © Neal Preston/Corbis

(Above Rt.) Gregg Allmann, shirtless, aboard a boat. –Image by © Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis

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1977, Los Angeles, CA– Cher with Gregg Allman –Image by © Michael Ochs Archives/Corbis

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Cher and Gregg Allman at a party –Image by © Neal Preston/Corbis

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1977, LA– Cher with Gregg Allman (and Rona Barrett) –Image by © Michael Ochs Archives/Corbis

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ca. 1973– Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band –Image by © Neal Preston/Corbis

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19 thoughts on ““GREGORY’S GOING TO GET SCREWED-UP FROM TIME TO TIME– AND SO AM I.”

  1. Great blog again! All I gotta say is things were just cool back then look at the hipness of Greg and Cher. so yeah they were coked up and all, but you gotta admit they just looked cool doing IT all. Today there is no cool……you don’t see anything like the superstar couples of that time if there is even any such thing….What was it? ahhhh the innocence of the Good Ol’ days.

  2. “most notably”? a Jenson Interceptor…I think not, good sir. I think the 246 Dino takes the most notable prize, and well chosen by herself!

  3. ,,, Jenson Interceptor Not Cool ? Get a grip !, of course the Ferreri is cool, but a Jenson Interceptor, ? Google it Dude, ! ,.

  4. I remember the shaky strangeness of the 70’s – everything felt like it was falling apart in a grubby stoner fallout – it felt uncomfortable in a creepy fake way – the flairs, sideburns, all of it kind of, just a bit off – an interesting time

  5. Well as a teenager and early twenties of the 70’s as well as having been involved with the music scene back then , it was an even bigger mess for us .

    Crap music displacing anything of substance ( Disco )

    Music business collapsing under its own excess

    Stuff like this ( Gregg and Cher ) happening all over the place

    Crap cars ( American ) taking the place of all the good stuff from the 60’s

    Burned out hippies and hippy wanna be’s clashing with the ever rising Yuppie class

    What a total mess and nightmare it really was . No direction ( even less now ) and little if no chance of finding any

    Nope . Few if any good memories from that era of my life . Maybe thats why I’m appreciating Middle Age while so many are trying to re-live their youth

    Jensen Interceptor vs Ferrari Dino

    Hmmn . I owned a Dino . Loved the Interceptor . Both were fine . Both were cool . Both were maintenance Nightmares . Honestly to do it all over again I’d of bought a Porsche 911 and been done with it .

  6. As alway’s you resurrect an Icon in the industry with the objective flare of a flame thrower, and the honest unbiased approach that stands out proudly amongst the syrupy rhetoric of most liberal editorials. The times they were a changing. That is a fact based penomonon. Whether we like it or not. Those day’s of eclectic original rock and roll , bluezy, soul filled and searching music is underlined by our mass media. Remember Lou Reed. Look at all the shit he took , just for being himself.Kudo’s to you and yours.

    Templeton

  7. Hell Yea JP,

    Love Chers Camel Toe she always did have and still does have a smokin bod. But Greg’s 1/2 gram a day habit maybe it was an 1/2 oz a day cause dang that was breakfast back in the day lol.

  8. Hey J.P,
    You’ve got your mojo back.
    Theres been a couple of lack-lustre posts of late but you’ve found form with this entry.
    Writing like this is why i keep coming back to your blog.
    Brett.

  9. This essay really does somehow capture the 70’s…never paid much attention to Cher and Allman in the day, but their look and lifestyle was somewhat emblematic, not to mention a good looking couple. I wonder who tagged these shots; got a kick out of the tag line on CHer in her leotard and sheer top, “cher tits and greg allman.”

  10. I recall her comment regarding Greg. It was something to the effect of, ‘Sonny had controlled me all those years, so I figured that if Greg couldn’t control himself that he couldn’t control me!’.

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