DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Gregg Allman, Southern rocker, who was was born and spent much of his childhood in Nashville, Tenn, and then most of his teen years in Daytona Beach, before forming the Allman Brothers band and creating classic hits like "Midnight Rider" and "Ramblin' Man," has died at the age of 69.
Allman his older brother, Duane Allman, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1971, developed an interest in music in their teens, and began performing in the Allman Joys in the mid-1960s. In 1967, they relocated to Los Angeles and were renamed the Hour Glass, releasing two albums for Liberty Records. In 1969, he and Duane regrouped to form the Allman Brothers Band, which settled in Macon, Ga.
The band’s lead singer and keyboardist, Gregg Allman was one of the principal architects of a taut, improvisatory fusion of blues, jazz, country and rock that — streamlined by inheritors like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band — became the Southern rock of the 1970s, as described in the New York Times.
Here's what else the Times said in part about the rocker in a story on his life and death:
Early Daytona Beach connection
Gregory LeNoir Allman was born on Dec. 8, 1947, in Nashville. He and his older brother were raised by their mother, the former Geraldine Alice Robbins, after their father, Willis Turner Allman, a combat veteran of World War II, was murdered by a hitchhiker in 1949. The brothers attended Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tenn., until their mother, who was working as an accountant, moved the family to Daytona Beach, in 1959. Gregg Allman early on had talked of becoming a dentist, but that career vocation was quickly dismissed once he picked up a guitar. And he and brther, Duane, immersed themselves in singing.
Gregg Allman worked as a paperboy to afford a Silvertone guitar, which he purchased at a Sears when he saved up enough funds. In Daytona, they joined a YMCA group called the Y Teens, their first experience performing music with others. Allman and his brother returned to Castle Heights in their teen years, where they formed a band, the Misfits. They returned to Daytona Beach and pursued music further, and the duo formed another band, the Shufflers, in 1963. Greg Allman attended Seabreeze High School, where he graduated in 1965. The brothers formed the Allman Joys, a prelude to formation of the Allman Brothers band once they left for Los Angeles and started studio sessions and recording.
Stacy Allen Cantu of Daytona Beach was saddened to learn of Gregg Allman's death. "He and his brother, Duane, and their mom used to live right down the street from us," Cantu told Headline Surfer. "We used to listen to them perform. They were very talented at a young age. This is so sad. I haven't seen them in a very long time since they moved away."
Stacy Allen Cantu of Daytona Beach was saddened to learn of Gregg Allman's death. "He and his brother, Duane, and their mom used to live right down the street from us," Cantu told Headline Surfer.
"We used to listen to them perform. They were very talented at a young age. This is so sad. I haven't seen them in a very long time since they moved away. I'm just heartbroken over the news of his death."
1970s success and Greg Allman's brief marriage to Cher
The Allman Brothers Band began to reach mainstream success by the early 1970s, with their live album At Fillmore East representing a commercial and artistic breakthrough. Shortly thereafter, Duane, the band's ultra-talented lead guitarist, was killed in a motorcycle crash in 1971. The following year, the band's bassist, Berry Oakley was also killed in a motorcycle accident very close to the location of Duane's wreck. Dicky Betts signed on as lead guitarist.
Their 1973 album Brothers and Sisters became their biggest hit, and Allman pursued a solo career afterward, releasing his debut album, Laid Back the same year. Internal turmoil took over the group, leading to a 1975 breakup. Allman was married to pop star Cher for the rest of the decade, and they had a son, Elijah Blue Allman, born on July 10, 1976, while he continued his solo career.
YouTube download / Gregg Allman on Cher's 1975 show in a duet of 'Gonna Mess Up A Good Thing' and solo with 'Midnight Rider.'
After a brief Allman Brothers reunion and a decade of little activity, Greg Allman reached an unexpected peak with the hit single "I'm No Angel" in 1987. After two more solo albums, the Allman Brothers reformed for a third and final time in 1989, and continued performing until 2014.
A heavy drinker, and drug user, Allman was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 2007—which he attributed to a dirty tattoo needle. By the next year, doctors had discovered three tumors within his liver, and he was recommended to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville by a Savannah doctor for a liver transplant. He went on a waiting list and after five months, he underwent a successful liver transplant in 2010.
In his latter years, Allman said, "Music is my life's blood. I love music, I love to play good music, and I love to play music for people who appreciate it. And when it's all said and done, I'll go to my grave and my brother will greet me, saying, 'Nice work, little brother—you did all right.' I must have said this a million times, but if I died today, I have had me a blast."
Gregg Allman released his most recent solo album, Low Country Blues, in 2011, and what would be his last, Southern Blood, was set to be released later this year.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Lynyrd Skynyrd song "Free Bird" was written by lead singer Ronnie Van Zandt as an ode to Duane Allman after his 1971 death in a motorcycle accident. Van Zandt and six others, would perish in a 1977 plane crash.
Allman Brothers Songs
Editor's Note: Bio from Wikipedia was used for this story.