Gregg Allman at 61

“…After I arrive, one of the first things [Gregg] Allman says, wholly unprompted, is ‘It’s been lonely times up here lately.’ His speaking voice is mild, melodicized by a delicate Southeastern drawl. Allman tells me his sixth marriage just broke up. He’d been planning to take a trip to Jamaica for his birthday [he’s now 61], but he couldn’t find anyone to go with him. He recently signed up with a classmates-finder website, to find out what his old schoolmates were up to.”

From Mark Binelli’s Rolling Stone (Issue 1082/1083; 7/09) story titled “The Lost Brother,” about Gregg Allman, of The Allman Brothers Band.

Easily one of the most important bands, not only of Southern Rock, but all of Rock and Roll history, The Allman Brothers Band personified that now-cliched Rock and Roll lifestyle of the late 1960s-1970s. Cameron Crowe, who wrote, directed and produced the film Almost Famous, first toured with The Allman Brothers when he was a young journalist for Rolling Stone, and largely based the fictional band Stillwater upon his experiences with The Allmans.

And now Gregg Allman is being man, and vulnerable enough, to admit that he’s been lonely lately. 

This is Rock and Roll continued.

Most of the world remembers and continues to experience The Allman Brothers Band from their heyday, by listening to and living with “Ramblin’ Man,” At Fillmore East, “Jessica,” Eat A Peach, “Melissa,” “Midnight Rider,” etc.

That’s fine, and in a lot of ways how it should be.

However, there were humans behind those recordings. Humans that both benefitted, and wholly suffered from, the lifestyle that sometimes accompanies large-scale success in the music industry.

Gregg Allman lost his brother Duane in a terrible accident in 1971, only to lose bandmate Berry Oakley from a similar accident, in nearly the same location, one year later.

Forty years after the inception of The Allman Brothers Band, life is good for Gregg, but after plenty of general hard-living, a toll will be felt on some level.

From the same Rolling Stone article (“The Lost Brother”), Gregg’s son Devon shares,

“Even when he was 20, that voice sounds like it’s been through a million heartaches. So if you’re going to to blessed with that voice at such a young age, I don’t know. Maybe, eventually, you’re going to go through this sh*t to earn it. When I see my dad sing, I know he’s pulling from his life. He just has this innate ability to draw on that despair.”


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