Duane Allman, Gregg’s Brother: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Goin' Down Slow – Duane AllmanGoin' Down Slow From "Duane Allman Anthology"2008-04-16T13:11:02.000Z

Despite the name Allman Brothers Band, the legendary Southern rock group only included two brothers – Duane Allman and Gregg Allman. After Gregg’s death on Saturday, May 27 at age 69, both are gone. Duane Allman was one of the greatest guitar players to ever live, recording a mind-blowing body of work in just 24 years of life.

Duane was born on November 20, 1946, just 13 months before his brother Gregg. The brothers were born to Willis Allman, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II, and Geraldine Allman. Almost exactly two years after Gregg’s birth, their father was murdered.

Duane died on October 29, 1971 in a motorcycle crash, just months after the Allman Brothers Band began having their own chart success with the legendary live album At Fillmore East.

He was survived by two children, including Galadrielle Allman.

Here is what you need to know about Duane Allman.


1. Daughter Galadrielle Wrote a Book About Her Father, Despite Having No Memory of Him

Duane Allman's Daughter Returns to MaconGaladrielle Allman returned to Macon the visit the Big House where she lived with her parents until Duane Allman was killed when she was 2.2014-05-03T18:58:22.000Z

In 2014, Galadrielle wrote a book about her famous father, Please Be With Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman. Born in 1969, she was only two years old when Duane died, but she learned much about his life while touring with the Allman Brothers Band and interviewing her grandmother in Daytona Beach. She went on the road for two years for research for the book.

“He died just shy of his 25th birthday and he accomplished so much,” Galadrielle told SFGate at her North Berkeley home. There, she has Duane’s favorite Les Paul guitar and other Gibson guitars her father used.

Her mother was Donna Allman, who was Duane’s common-law wife. Nine months before her death, Allman forced Donna and his daughter to leave the “Big House,” a communal home where the Allman Brothers Band’s wives and children stayed. Donna Allman now lives in Oakland.

“My closest friends knew, but being Duane Allman’s daughter wasn’t part of my identity at all,” Galadrielle told SFGate in 2014. “I was a punk rock teenager, and I was living in a culture where that wasn’t cool.”

Before his relationship with Donna, Duane did have a daughter with Patty Chanley. The daughter was born deaf.


2. Duane Performed the Lead Guitar on Eric Clapton’s ‘Layla’ & Wrote the Signature Riff

Derek And The Dominos – LaylaTitle: Layla Artist: Derek And The Dominos Album: Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs Year: 1970 I do not claim ownership to this song. Lyrics: What'll you do when you get lonely And nobody's waiting by your side? You've been running and hiding much too long. You know it's just your foolish pride. Layla, you've got me on my knees. Layla, I'm begging, darling please. Layla, darling won't you ease my worried mind. I tried to give you consolation When your old man had let you down. Like a fool, I fell in love with you, Turned my whole world upside down. Chorus Let's make the best of the situation Before I finally go insane. Please don't say we'll never find a way And tell me all my love's in vain. Chorus Chorus2011-09-30T13:37:58.000Z

While “Layla” is a song most associated with Eric Clapton, it’s Duane’s incredible guitar playing that makes it a key part of rock history. The song appears on the album Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs by “Derek and the Dominoes,” a group Clapton set up for just one album. During a break from the Allman Brothers Band, Duane played on the album as a guest musician, contributing the famous guitar parts to the title track.

According to an Eric Clapton fan site, it was producer Tom Dowd who was responsible for introducing the two guitarists. Dowd got a call from Clapton’s manager, Robert Stigwood, while he produced the Allmans’ Idlewild South album. Clapton wanted to take Derek and the Dominoes to Miami to work with Dowd.

When Clapton arrived in Miami, he saw the Allman Brothers Band perform and was stunned by Duane’s playing. They jammed together all night and then he contributed to Layla.

Duane made dozens of recordings outside the Allman Brothers Band. He worked with Boz Scaggs, Wilson Pickett, Clarence Carter, King Curtis, John P. Hammond, Otis Rush and even Aretha Franklin. When you hear Pickett’s version of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude,” that’s Duane playing the lead guitar.

“The only lessons Duane had was us sitting around the house – trial and error,” Gregg Allman recalled in a 1981 Guitar Player Magazine interview. “And then he had a friend named Jim Shepley, who was a couple of years older and had started a couple of years before. He’s the one that turned us on to all the Jimmy Reed records. He had a bunch of those hot licks down, and I thought, ‘Man, this guy is something else!’ And so Duane sat with him all the time. Even before Duane quit school, they would skip classes and shoot pool and play guitars. He learned a whole lot from Shepley, and that was probably his best friend back then.”


3. Gregg Wrote ‘Ain’t Waistin’ Time No More’ as a Tribute to Duane

The Allman Brothers Band – Whipping Post – 9/23/1970 – Fillmore East (Official)The Allman Brothers Band – Whipping Post Recorded Live: 9/23/1970 – Fillmore East – New York, NY More The Allman Brothers Band at Music Vault: http://www.musicvault.com Subscribe to Music Vault on YouTube: http://goo.gl/DUzpUF Personnel: Gregg Allman – organ, vocals Duane Allman – guitar, vocals Dickey Betts – guitar, vocals Berry Oakley – bass, vocals Butch Trucks – drums Jai Johanny Johanson – drums Tom Doucette – harp Summary: On this date, Bill Graham assembled a stellar roster of bands to participate in the filming of a television special called Welcome To The Fillmore East for broadcast on educational channels. Short sets were filmed by the Byrds, the Elvin Bishop Group, Sha-Na-Na, Van Morrison, and the Allman Brothers Band, as well as behind-the-scenes footage of Bill Graham and the Fillmore East staff at work. The Allman Brothers performance is nothing short of spectacular and features the original lineup that included Duane Allman and Berry Oakley. Recorded six months prior to the legendary Live At Fillmore East double album set, this performance captures the Allman Brothers when they were a relatively new band, full of youthful passion and performing what would become classic original material when it was fresh and new. Following Bill Graham's introduction, they kick things off with a tight performance of "Don't Keep Me Wonderin'," which features the band's friend, Tom Doucette, blowing harp over the group's trademark sound. Gregg's vocal is barely audible, but it's obvious the group is full of fire. "Dreams," which follows, slows things down a bit and the group establishes a relaxed groove that showcases their trademark sound, blending elements that would eventually come to define "Southern Rock." They hit their stride on the next number, Dickey Betts' "In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed." Here, the dual guitar attack of Allman and Betts is astounding. The two guitarists intertwine and synchronize in a manner nothing short of telepathic, creating a melting pot seasoned with elements of jazz, rock, country, and blues into a style utterly their own. The set ends with a ferocious take of "Whipping Post" that features outstanding melodic bass playing from Berry Oakley, with both Duane Allman and Dickey Betts soaring over the propulsive rhythm section. Shorter than the expansive versions that would develop in coming months, this is all the more fascinating for it, as they compress an incredible amount of energy into the time allotted. Time constrictions and vocal microphone malfunctions aside, this is still a fascinating performance. This original lineup of the band was certainly one of the most innovative and captivating bands to ever play the Fillmore.2014-09-11T17:03:26.000Z

The Allman Bothers Band’s Eat a Peach was the first album released after Duane’s death. The record is a mix of recordings made before and after he died. One of the centerpieces to the album recorded after his death was “Ain’t Waistin’ No Time,” Gregg’s tribute to his brother. It’s the opening song and was released as a single.

After Duane’s death, Rolling Stone published a profile of the band, looking at how they could continue without their guitarist. He truly admired his older brother, especially his rebellious streak.

The Allman Brothers Band – Ain't Wasting Time (Feb. 1972)Gregg Allman – organ, vocals, piano, electric piano, acoustic guitar Duane Allman: slide and lead guitars, acoustic guitar in "Little Martha" (Tracks 4-9) Dicky Betts – slide and lead guitars, vocals, Jai Johanny Johanson – drums, congas Berry Oakley – bass Butch Trucks – drums, percussion, tympani, gong, vibes, tambourine Last Sunday morning, the sunshine felt like rain. Week before, they all seemed the same. With the help of God and true friends, I come to realize I still had two strong legs, and even wings to fly. And oh I, ain't wastin time no more 'Cause time goes by like hurricanes, and faster things. Lord, lord Miss Sally, why are you cryin'? Been around here three long days, you're lookin' like you're dyin'. Just step yourself outside, and look up at the stars above Go on downtown baby, find somebody to love. Meanwhile I ain't wastin' time no more 'Cause time goes by like pouring rain, and much faster things. You don't need no gypsy to tell you why You can't let one precious day slip by. Look inside yourself, and if you don't see what you want, Maybe sometimes then you don't, But leave your mind alone and just get high. Well by and by, way after many years have gone, And all the war freaks die off, leavin' us alone. We'll raise our children in the peaceful way we can, It's up to you and me brother To try and try again. Well, hear us now, we ain't wastin' time no more 'Cause time goes by like hurricanes Runnin' after subway trains Don't forget the pouring rain.2012-09-09T09:38:09.000Z

“Duane was sure a bastard when he was a kid,” Gregg told Rolling Stone in 1973. “He quit school, I don’t know how many times. Got thrown out a few times too. But he had that motorcycle and drove it until it finally just fell apart. When it did, he quit school. While I was gone, he’d grab my axe and start picking. Pretty soon we had fights over the damn thing, so when it came around to our birthdays – mine was in December and his was in November – we both got one. I got mine a little earlier than my birthday, actually. Matter of fact, I put hands on my first electric guitar November 10th, 1960, at three o’clock that Saturday afternoon. Duane’s guitar got into the picture shortly after that.”

Incredibly, the band had to survive another tragedy almost a year to the date of Duane’s death when bassist Berry Oakley died in a motorcycle crash at almost the same spot where Duane died.

“I wish he was here with me,” Gregg told Vh1 in 2014. “He died right before the big success hit and immediately I thought he was shortchanged.”


4. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Free Bird’ Was Dedicated to Duane, But Not Written for him

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird (Live 2003) Full version – best audioLive concert in Nashville, Tennessee (2003). It was during their Vicious Cycle Tour, and marked the band's 30 years of rock 'n roll. "Free Bird" was first featured on the band's debut album in 1973. Released as a single in November 1974, it became the band's second Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1975, where it peaked at #19. A live version of the song also reached the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977, peaking at #38. Free Bird also achieved the #3 spot on Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Solos. The lyrical portion of the song was written early in the group's history. Roadie Billy Powell was discovered as a keyboardist for the band when he played the intro piece to "Free Bird" at a high school prom. Lead vocalist Ronnie Van Zant noted his talent and invited him to join. Allen Collins's then-girlfriend, Kathy, whom he later married, asked him, "If I leave here tomorrow would you still remember me?" Collins jotted the question down and it eventually became the opening line of "Free Bird". Slide guitar Gary Rossington played a Gibson SG and used a glass Coricidin bottle for a slide on this song to emulate one of his heroes, Duane Allman. This was the only song he used a guitar other than a Les Paul on. He also stuck a nail-like piece of metal under the strings near the nut to raise the action of the guitar when playing slide. The guitar's B string was tuned down to a G during this song. Rossington currently uses two G strings tuned to G instead of tuning down a B string.2011-03-29T03:47:53.000Z

Although Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” was written before Duane died, it became a tribute to Allman in performances after his death. During a 1976 show in England, Ronnie Van Zant even tells pianist Billy Powell to “Play it for Duane Allman.”

However, contrary to popular belief, the epic song was not written for Duane. Released on the 1973 album (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd), the song was written by Van Zant with Allen Collins. It was inspired by Collins’ future wife Kathy, who asked him, “If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?” That became the opening line of the song.

After Oakley died, Van Zant added that they are “both free birds” before the band performed it on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1975.

In the years since Duane’s death, there have been countless other tributes to him. For example, in 1998, the Georgia State Legislature renamed a section of highway in Macon “Duane Allman Boulevard.”


5. Gregg Called the First Albums They Recorded a ‘Shit Sandwich’

Allman Brothers Band – Midnight Rider (Exclusive Video)Allman Brothers Band – Midnight Rider. "Midnight Rider Music Video" Exclusive Video _Sandman368 Made This Video. *Subscribe to Sandman368 for FREE _ ***Disclaimer*** Copyright Disclaimer under Sections 107 of the Copyright Law (title 17, U. S. Code). Important limitation of this law is the doctrine of "fair use". Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, research or non-profit educational tips the balance in favor of fair use". I do not own any audio or anything in the video/slideshow. It is only for use as in the above disclaimer. No copyright infringement intended.2012-03-24T03:09:08.000Z

Before the Allman Brothers Band that we all know came together, the Allman brothers were in several different outfits. Duane’s first group was balled The Escorts, then the brothers created the Allman Joys. They got a record deal in 1967 as a group called “Hour Glass.” They recorded two albums that sound drastically different from the Southern rock they pioneered later.

The two albums were released by Liberty Records, which convinced the brothers that they would make them the next Rolling Stones, Gregg told Rolling Stone in 1973. But it wasn’t their kind of music.

“Together those two records form what is commonly known as a shit sandwich,” Gragg told Rolling Stone. “Liberty was paying all our expenses for us until we earned enough to pay them back.”

They gave up on trying to make it in Los Angeles and headed back to their familiar territory. Duane later got stuck at Muscle Shoals, Alabama as a session guitarist, but his work impressed Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler. Allman eventually got tired of this and headed back to Jacksonville, Florida. By March 1969, the line-up of the Allman Brothers Band that would be successful was born.

The group only recorded two studio albums – The Allman Brothers Band (1969) and Idlewild South (1970) – and the live album At Fillmore East (1971) before Duane’s death. Although he never recorded a solo album during his lifetime, a compilation album called Duane Allman: An Anthology was released in 1972. It’s made up of Allman Brothers Band songs, as well as records where he is a featured session musician.

“He was a pretty outrageous type, man. He was a great person, though, and he had musical abilities that just were phenomenal,” musician Jim Shepley said in an interview for Guitar Player Magazine in 1981. “Later on when he started to make it and he and Gregg took me down to Macon to produce an album, I was in awe of him. I had a great amount of respect for him. I could just see that he was gonna be a truly great influence on American music.”