Gregg Allman, the co-founding keyboardist of the Allman Brothers Band and the iconic figurehead of all of Southern rock, died in his sleep on Saturday (May 27th) at his home in Savannah, Georgia, according to Billboard. Allman has long been at the mercy of his health issues, especially after receiving a liver transplant in 2010. The public last heard from Allman in April, when — despite rumors of him entering hospice care — Allman took to Facebook to put his fans at ease, posting, “Hey everyone. I just wanted y’all to know that I’m currently home in Savannah resting on my doctor’s orders. I want to thank you for all the love that you are sending. Looking forward to seeing everyone again. Keep Rockin.'”
In March, Allman's health issues once again forced him off the road. Last February, it was announced Allman was wrapping up work on his upcoming album, the Don Was-produced, Southern Blood, the long-awaited followup to his 2011 Grammy-nominated set, Low Country Blues. Allman posted a note on his official site announcing the news and a teaser video showing clips from a session at Muscle Shoals, Alabama's legendary FAME Recording Studio.
In August 2016, it was reported that Gregg Allman was currently under a doctor's care at Rochester, Minnesota's Mayo Clinic and had canceled all of his scheduled concerts through the end of October.
In 1969, Gregg Allman formed the Allmans in Jacksonville, Florida with older brother Duane Allman on guitar, guitarist Dickey Betts, bassist Berry Oakley, and drummers Butch Trucks and Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson. Tragedy plagued the band's early years with Duane Allman and Oakley dying in motorcycle accidents in 1971 and 1972, respectively. Last January, drummer Butch Trucks committed suicide at age 69.
Back in 2011, Allman, who fronted the band throughout all its incarnations until their final split in 2014, told Gibson.com, “Being a Sagittarius, I'm pretty introverted. But I was forced to grow out of that when Duane died. When Duane passed away, we all got together and said, 'What do we do now?' I said, 'We either play, or we go crazy. Those are our choices.' So we played. God, did we play. We were on the road for 306 days in 1970, and we stepped that up after my brother died. . . I would like to think I'm part of that tradition. I'm not old and rickety enough to be there just yet, but give me about 15 more years (laughs). I never thought I would be making music this long. I never thought I would live this long. The traveling gets harder, but the playing gets better. . . I was thankful for all the great fun I had had, at such an early age. Every day, back then, involved something new — something to discover, something to learn, something to play. There was never a dull moment. I’ve had a very interesting life.”
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 (pronounced: GOLLA-dree-ELL), lifelong friend Chank Middleton, and a large extended family. According the announcement regarding Allman's death, the family suggests that tributes to Gregg can be made to the Gregg Allman Scholarship Fund at The University of Georgia at http://bit.ly/2rM3Vqb as well as Syracuse University's Gregg Allman and Michael Lehman Scholarship Fund http://bit.ly/2qqzoKv Of all of Allman's six marriages, by far his most famous was his union with Cher between 1975 and 1979, which produced their son, musician Elijah Blue and the ill-received 1977 duet album, Two The Hard Way — which was billed to “Allman And Woman.” Aside from his incredible Hammond B-3 playing, distinctive blues vocals, and thousands of incredible live gigs, perhaps Allman's greatest legacy is his songs. Over the years, Allman wrote or co-wrote such classics as “Midnight Rider,” “Ain't Wastin' Time No More,” “Melissa,” “It's Not My Cross to Bear,” “Dreams” “Whipping Post,” “Little Martha,” “Hot 'Lanta,” and “Wasted Words,” among many others. In 1987, Allman scored a surprise solo hit with the title track to his fifth solo album, I'm No Angel. The song stiffed on the Billboard Hot 100 at a disappointing Number 49, but sailed to Number One on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks. Gregg Allman's last album, 2011's Grammy nominated Low Country Blues, peaked at Number Five on the Billboard 200 album charts and hit the top spot on the magazine's Top Blues Albums list. Sadly, Gregg Allman's name was dragged across the press when the filmmakers behind the big screen adaption of his 2012 memoir, My Cross To Bear, were held responsible for the death of a crewmember. Randall Miller, the director for Midnight Rider, the ill-fated and ultimately scrapped Allman biopic, plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter for the February 20th, 2014 death of camera operator Sarah Jones in Georgia. While shooting without the proper clearances, an oncoming train tore through the set after the movie crew had installed equipment to film on some train tracks and a trestle bridge in rural Wayne County near Savannah. In addition to Jones’ death, six others were injured. Miller received a 10-year sentence — two years in Wayne County jail, the rest on probation in which he can't serve as a film director, first A.D. or supervisor in charge of a crew. Miller was also ordered to pay a $20,000 fine and be forced to complete 360 hours of community service. Miller’s plea was part of a deal which clears his wife, producer Jody Salvi. Executive producer Jay Sedrish entered an Alford Plea — a plea where the accused enters a guilty plea in which “a defendant in a criminal case does not admit the criminal act and asserts innocence.” Sedrish was also slapped with a $10,000 fine and 10-years probation. In the wake of Sarah Jones' death, Allman, who had served as a producer on the film, publically urged Miller — and eventually took legal action — to officially shut down the film's production. GREGG ALLMAN AUDIO
Gregg Allman said that Allman Brothers Band fans always deserved at least as much credit for a great live show as the band: “The audience is part of that, so much a part of that, because they really draw it out of you. The audience can get — I mean, they have a lot to do with getting the performance they want. These people — I've never seen anything like it. They're really into it.” ,was so utterly mind blowing & reality distorting to the phsyce of a 22 year old boy who never ceased being 22 in his presence on some level,I doubt he could ever fully grasp…To stand up to him or to take care of him when he needed it required alot of internal face slapping to shake myself out of the awe one feels for one of their genuine heros…to just see the man…& I'd wager Greg got that alot…I think it was really almost unreal for people younger than him to actually see him free of the mighty legend…like some wild west gunfighter of a breed no longer made…& when different brilliant members would work for him or launch careers thru him…or just say they met him…let alone knew him…the conflict that everyone felt at that interaction was most always an act of love…at least for as long as& however we could see him & know him & yes ultimately love the man…So many friends of mine are feeling this right now & I send them so much love…Among the many things that Greg caused whether he knew it or not was my meeting my wife & therefore our baby…
And as personal & as recently as these peripheral effects upon me…all the while…that voice…s*** ever since I was two years old…haunting…as he'd been haunted…I wish I coulda told him that…I wish I coulda made him see…his massive effect on people…around him & nowhere near…I guess that voice will haunt me still…I hope he finds peace & I hope his family does.”
Steppenwolf: “Lost another legend today, Gregg Allman of the trailblazing Allman Brothers Band has passed away at the age of 69. Rock will never be the same.”
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's John McEuen: “Such difficult news about Gregg Allman. I have put a remembrance piece of music of his on my website SyndicatedNews NET LLCnet It is the first recording of Just Not My Cross To Bear, which I did in his Hollywood living room the week he wrote it, before Allman Brothers Band got under way. He was a Southern Gentleman who believed in his music and gave it his all. His heart and soul touched all who knew his name, and he loved singing. . . Thanks, Gregg, for leaving us with so much of you to keep with us.”
Carmine Appice: “Wow another rocker gone! Greg Allman. Who was an old friend. What a talent he was. Pioneer great voice. I loved his voice. Met in early 70s with Allman Bros and Cactus did many gigs. Jammed many times hung out with him . Jammed in nyc at the beacon theater with him. Sad very sad. RIP my old friend. Sympathy goes out to his family and his bandmates.”
Martha Quinn: “Friends I need to tell you Gregg Allman has passed away. I imagine this is how he leaves us: Guitar in hand, rock's great Midnight Rider, bound to keep on riding. Rest in Peace legend.”
Glenn Hughes: “So deeply saddened to hear that brother Gregg Allman has passed. Friends for 47 years back in Macon Georgia, Gregg wrapped his arms around my band trapeze and gave us so much encouragement and inspiration at the start of my musical journey. Your soul will live on my brother. May you RIP … heaven has a wonderful choir … sing on and rest in God's Grace.”
Leo Sayer: “Oh no! We just lost the 'Midnight Rider'. This one really hurts… RIP Gregg Allman.”
Funky Meters: “Sending much love and light to Gregg Allman and Allman Brothers Band family, crew, friends and fans…Godspeed Gregg Allman.”
Peter Wolf: “Ride on 'Midnight Rider.'
The Neville Brothers: “Much love and light to the entire Allman Brothers Band Gregg Allman family. Our hearts go out to all of y'all. Godspeed Gregg Allman.”
Taj Mahal: “He fought the good fight,played it the way he heard it and loved every moment he was making music! He was a great friend to me and we all will miss him! RIP Bro Greg”
The Outlaws: “From the band that changed the face of popular music and inspired a generation, we morn the loss of Gregg Allman, a founding member and band's namesake. We send our deepest and most respectful condolences to his family, and loved ones.”
Canned Heat: “R.I.P. Gregg Allman – A Fantastic Musician and a Really Nice Man,you will be missed by many.”
Charlie Daniels: “Just got the word Gregg Allman has passed away. Rest in peace, brother. You were the best Dixie had. You will be missed. Gregg Allman had a feeling for the blues very few ever have. Hard to believe that magnificent voice is stilled forever.”
Keith Urban: “My heart breaks today at the passing of soul brutha Gregg Allman. Blessings and peace to all the Allman family.”
Wynonna: “I recently spent time with this beautiful spirit & sang every word at the concert. I sit here stunned that we have lost another legend. Hard to process this loss.”
Travis Tritt: “I'm so very saddened to hear of the passing of rock & blues legend Gregg Allman. He was such a huge influence on me. Gregg Allman was one of the most soulful singers I ever heard. This is a devastating loss to music fans all over the planet.”
Ronnie Milsap: “Gregg Allman, WHAT A SINGER! You'll be greatly missed, Rest in Peace, my Blues Brother.”
Billy Ray Cyrus: “RIP Gregg Allman. A true legend.”
The Buckinghams' Dennis Tufano: “Oh no… we lose another. R.I.P. Gregg Allman”
Y&T's Dave Meniketti: “When I was first starting to learn to play guitar in the early 70s, one of my favorite bands to listen to was The Allman Brothers Band. That music has continued to stay with me and though I so very much wished I had the chance to see Duane & Berry live, I have the fond memories of seeing many an Allman Brothers show in the 70s & 80s. . . When I hear his voice on the very first ABB album singing 'It's Not My Cross To Bear,' it still gives me the chills. His music will live on with those who loved his huge contribution to the music scene & decades with that legendary band. Count me as one of those. RIP Gregg Allman.”