Gregg Allman (December 8, 1947 – May 27, 2017) was born Gregory LeNoir Allman in Nashville, Tennessee and spent most of his childhood in Nashville, before moving to Daytona Beach, Florida.
He was a musician, singer, songwriter and best known for performing in the Allman Brothers Band with his brother, Duane. The brothers became interested in music in their teens, and started performing together as the Allman Joys in the mid-1960s. In 1967, they moved to Los Angeles and were renamed the Hour Glass, releasing two albums for Liberty Records. In 1969, they moved to Macon, Georgia and formed the Allman Brothers Band.
The Allman Brothers started to gain success in the early 1970s, with their live album At Fillmore East representing a huge commercial and artistic breakthrough. Unfortunately, shortly after, Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident, in 1971, and the following year, the band’s bassist, Berry Oakley, was also killed in a motorcycle crash very close to the location of Duane’s wreck.
Their 1973 album Brothers and Sisters became their biggest hit, but Gregg decided to pursue a solo career afterward, releasing his debut album Laid Back the same year. Internal turmoil then took over the group and lead to its breakup in 1975.
In 1975, Gregg also married Cher in Las Vegas three days after she divorced her husband and singing partner, Sonny Bono. Their marriage was tumultuous from the start and Cher requested a divorce just nine days after their wedding, although she dismissed the suit a month later.
Together they released a widely panned duets album under the name “Allman and Woman.” They had one child together, Elijah Blue and were married for the rest of the 1970s, while he continued his solo career with the Gregg Allman Band. Cher then filed for legal separation in 1977. The Allman Brothers Band split up in the 1980s and then re-formed several times over the years.
After a brief Allman Brothers reunion and a period of little activity, he reached an unexpected peak with the hit single “I’m No Angel” in 1987. After two more solo albums, the Allman Brothers regrouped for a third and final time in 1989, and continued performing until 2014.
During his career Gregg received several Grammys, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. His distinctive voice also placed him in 70th place in the Rolling Stone list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”.
Gregg was extremely influential in the world of Southern Rock, Blues, R&R, and Country. His voice was amazing, soul-searching, and heart-tearing, and his awesome touch on the Hammond organ, and his song writing are all legendary and hugely influential.
Many artists have said that they were influenced by him….. “Midnight Rider”, one of his most iconic songs was covered by Joe Cocker (RIP), Paul Davidson (a Jamaican singer), the amazing and beautifully angelic voice of Alison Krauss, the Detroit rocker Bob Seger, country legends Willie Nelson with Toby Keith and also Hank Williams, Jr., as well as folk master Stephen Stills, etc. Charlie Daniels stated that Gregg “is the finest white blues singer” that he’s ever heard.
Gregg Allman “passed away peacefully” on May 27, 2017 at his home in Savannah, Georgia, aged 69. The cause was complications of liver cancer.
He is survived by his wife, Shannon Allman; his sons, Michael, Devon and Elijah Blue; his daughters, Island and Layla (each of the five has a different mother) and three grandchildren.
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