Gregg Allman, co-founding lead singer, keyboardist and one of the main songwriters of the legendary The Allman Brothers Band, has died at age 69.
A statement on Allman’s official website reads, in part, “It is with deep sadness that we announce that Gregg Allman, a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, passed away peacefully at his home in Savannah, Georgia.
“Gregg struggled with many health issues over the past several years. During that time, Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans, essential medicine for his soul. Playing music lifted him up and kept him going during the toughest of times.”
The website statement concludes, “The family will release a statement soon, but for now ask for privacy during this very difficult time.”
Allman cancelled all his 2017 tour dates in March, at the time of his death he was working on a solo album, Southern Blood, recorded with his back up band at FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals and produced by Don Was.
“As a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman helped give birth to Southern rock, blazing a trail for a generation of musicians who were equally influenced by the blues, Southern soul, and rock,” said Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow in a statement. “His earthy vocals graced songs that have become rock standards. …We have lost a pioneering force in American music, and our condolences go out to Gregg’s family, friends, colleagues, and music fans everywhere.”
Allman formed The Allman Brothers Band in 1969 in Jacksonville, Florida, with his older brother Duane, guitarist Dickey Betts, bassist Berry Oakley Jr., and drummers Butch Trucks and Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson. The band combined blues, soul, jazz and gospel influences en route to becoming one of the most popular and influential Southern rock acts of all time.
Gregg Allman’s soulful vocals and Hammond organ were key ingredients in the group’s sound, while he also wrote or co-wrote many of the band’s enduring signature hits, including “Whipping Post,” “Midnight Rider,” “Melissa” and “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More.”
The band was shaken by the deaths Duane Allman and Oakley in motorcycle accidents in November 1971 and November 1972, respectively, but continued on with a number of lineup changes before temporarily disbanding in 1976.
The Allman Brothers reunited a few times during the ensuing years. While internal squabbles and other issues led to more roster shakeups — including the 2000 departure of Betts — the lineup solidified in the early 2000s and the group continued until calling it quits in October 2014.
Gregg Allman also had a successful solo career that paralleled his work with the Allmans, including his 1987 rock hit “I’m No Angel” and his acclaimed 2011 album, Low Country Blues.
Allman struggled with addiction and alcohol abuse, and in 2010 underwent a liver transplant. He also had a turbulent love life, marrying and divorcing five times, including a high-profile four-year marriage during the 1970s to Cher.
Gregg Allman and the rest of the Allman Brothers were honored with a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 2012. Shortly before his death, Allman had been busy touring with his solo backing band, and had recorded a new album that’s expected out in early 2017.
Gregg Allman was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Allman Brothers Band in 1995, and was welcomed into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2015.
According to his website, Allman is survived by “his wife, Shannon Allman; his children, Devon, Elijah Blue, Delilah Island Kurtom and Layla Brooklyn Allman; three grandchildren; his niece, Galadrielle Allman; lifelong friend Chank Middleton, and a large extended family.”
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