Gregg Allman, Soulful Trailblazer of Southern Rock, Dies at 69

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by Deborah Wilker

Saturday May 27, 2017

***Death due to ‘Liver Cancer Complications’***

The legendary singer, songwriter, keyboardist and co-founder of The Allman Brothers Band endured heartbreaking tragedy and addiction during his life.

Gregg Allman, the soulful singer-songwriter and rock ‘n’ blues pioneer who founded The Allman Brothers Band with his late brother, Duane, and composed such classics as “Midnight Rider,” “Melissa” and the epic concert jam “Whipping Post,” has died at age 69. He was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1999 and underwent a liver transplant in 2010.

Allman “passed away peacefully at his home in Savannah, Georgia,” read a statement posted to the singer’s official website, noting that the family planned to release a statement soon. “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.”

Gregg’s longtime manager and close friend Michael Lehman said, “I have lost a dear friend and the world has lost a brilliant pioneer in music. He was a kind and gentle soul with the best laugh I ever heard. His love for his family and bandmates was passionate as was the love he had for his extraordinary fans. Gregg was an incredible partner and an even better friend. We will all miss him.”

Gregg is survived by his wife, Shannon Allman, his children, Devon, Elijah Blue, Delilah Island Kurtom and Layla Brooklyn Allman; 3 grandchildren, his niece, Galadrielle Allman, lifelong friend Chank Middleton, and a large extended family.

With his long blond hair, cool facade and songs that chronicled restless, wounded lives, Allman came to personify the sexy, hard-living rock outlaw in a life marked by musical triumph and calamitous loss.

Allman fronted his band for 45 years, first alongside Duane and then as its sole namesake, after his older brother — regarded as one of the most influential guitarists in rock history — was killed in a motorcycle accident in November 1971, just as their trailblazing Southern rock tracks were taking hold on the charts.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Right up there with Joe Cocker and Michael MacDonald as a “soulful” white singer. And then there was his dexterity on organ and, on occasion, backup guitar.

    Yes it’s a sad loss. But there’s so much to celebrate. Who’d have thought the Allmans would even have survived the early deaths, one year apart, of Duane Allman and Barry Oakley? Full points to Gregg, Dickey Betts, Chuck Leavell, Butch Trucks (also recently deceased) for persevering with other members.

    Sad that Gregg and Dickey fell out. One rock website quotes a distraught Betts saying he’s so far “unable to process” Gregg’s passing. Meanwhile, Cher–his most famous ex-wife and mother of son Elijah Blue–issued a poignant tweet using nicknames each called the other during happier times.

    Wonder if there will be any service that might draw in surviving members of the Allmans? Dickey’s kept a low profile in recent years. Chuck is the longtime keyboardist for the Stones. Warren Haynes keeps busy with Gov’t Mule. And Derek Trucks (nephew of Butch) has gained post-Allmans cred by forming a multi-member band with his vocalist/wife Susan Tedeschi.

    It could be quite a wake if all and sundry gather for a memorial sendoff.

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