On March 26,, 1969, Gregg Allman walked into a room to rehearse with a group of musicians he did not know well, except for his brother, Duane. By the end of the session, the Allman Brothers Band was born, and four days later they played their first gig.
That was 50 years ago. In the decades in between, the band employed 13 different line-ups while giving birth to a genre that came to be known as Southern rock, and then perfecting that sound during legendary live shows.
The Allman Brothers Band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 on the strength of finely crafted songs like “Midnight Rider,” “Jessica,” and “Blue Sky.” The band broke up a few times along the way, but always regrouped to return as strong as ever until performing for the last time in 2014.
Each decade of Allman Brothers history is its own story. Here’s a look back with some of the band’s best songs.
The Allman Brothers Band stormed out of the gate with their self-titled 1969 debut that featured the thundering “Whipping Post” and “Dreams.”
Tragedy struck just when the band was getting going. Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident shortly after the release of the seminal live album At Fillmore East. Bassist Berry Oakley would die a year later. But the seventies was the decade that put the band on the map with jams like “Revival” and radio friendly hits like the Dickey Betts-penned “Ramblin’ Man.” The band broke up in 1976 before reuniting in 1979.
The eighties were not kind to the Allman Brothers Band. They released just two studio albums before breaking up again in 1982. Gregg had some success with his solo career that included the hit “I’m No Angel.”
The second prime of the band’s career unofficially began in 1990. Jaimoe and Butch Trucks returned on drums to join Allman, Betts, up and coming guitarist Warren Haynes and bassist Allen Woody. The Allman Brothers released three well-received studio albums that featured songs like “Seven Turns” and “No One to Run With.” The LPs became just as important to the band’s live shows as any of their classic works.
Betts left the band, but it still had one last solid album in them with 2003’s Hittin’ the Note featuring “Firing Line.” Guitar virtuoso Derek Trucks, nephew of Butch, joined the band and helped take them to the finish line – their 238th straight sellout at the Beacon Theater on October 28, 2014.