Pioneer rock music icon Gregg Allman dies at 69

Gregg Allman, whose soulful vocals made the Allman Brothers Band one of rock’s top acts in the 1970s with songs such as “Whipping Post,” in a career also marred by tragedy and drug abuse, died on Saturday at the age of 69, his official website said.

“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,” it said.

Drummer Butch Trucks, another founding member of the band, died aged 60 on Jan. 24.

The Allman Brothers Band was started in Macon, Georgia, in the late 1960s by Gregg and older brother Duane, who became the band’s guiding force and one of rock’s most revered guitarists before he was killed in a motorcycle accident at age 24. In its heyday, the band was a staple on radio stations and released albums ranked among the best in rock history.

Gregg was the band’s lead singer, keyboardist and a key songwriter as it put out a string of hits. He wrote several of them – “It’s Not My Cross to Bear,” “Midnight Rider,” “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More” and “Melissa” – while others were renditions of old blues songs, including “One Way Out” and “Statesboro Blues.”

The band was an early progenitor of what became known as Southern rock. In addition to blues, the band also was known for its crystal guitar harmonies between Duane and Dickey Betts, jazz influences and a free-wheeling approach that sometimes led to 20-minute songs. Rising above it all was Gregg’s voice.

“My southern-rock heart is breaking,” music star Melissa Etheridge said on her Twitter feed.

Country music great Charlie Daniels said on Twitter: “Gregg Allman had a feeling for the blues very few ever have, hard to believe that magnificent voice is stilled forever.”

 


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