Gregg Allman (1947-2017)

Dylan Utz, Writer


With these words came an outpouring of sadness from fans and support to the family of Gregg Allman, who helped to pioneer the Southern Rock genre starting from the late 1960s. He passed away May 27 due to complications from liver cancer. Many important celebrities took to social media, including Allman’s former wife, Cher.


Allman is best known for being a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, with which he recorded eleven studio and sixteen live albums from 1969 through 2004. Their first two albums, a self-titled debut and Idlewild South, while artistic, did not appear on the charts. However, with the commercial (#13) and artistic breakthrough of third album overall and first live album At Fillmore East in 1971, The Allman Brothers were brought to prominence.


The next album’s material, Eat a Peach, was written live, and the band brought it into the studio to record. Spirits were up as the new material was fresh and Duane was helping the band out of drug problems. The next year and half would see the deaths of de facto bandleader-guitarist (and brother of Gregg) Duane Allman and bassist Berry Oakley, both from motorcycle accidents.


Despite these hardships, guitarist Dickey Betts took over as leader and alongside the surviving members: drummer Butch Trucks, percussionist Jamie and Allman, who played organ and keyboards. Rebanding, they recorded number-one hit album Brothers and Sisters, adding for the studio keyboardist Chuck Leavell and bassist Lamar Williams. All three albums went Platinum. Their next two, Win, Lose or Draw and Wipe the Windows, Check the Oil, Dollar Gas didn’t fare so well, having either lower chart positions or sales certifications. The band would go on-and-off in the coming years, having multiple reunions, their first from 1979-1988 and their second from 1989-1996 that featured more touring and live performances.


Faculty members throughout the school were hit hard. Michael Miller relived some past memories.


“I saw them live as a freshman at Penn State in 1974. I wanted to be a bass guitar player immediately after the concert.”


He added: “Certainly too soon for life expectancy. When you have these icons die well before their time, it’s sorta like ‘wow’. He had lost his brother earlier, much earlier, so that affected his music and whatnot and you wonder to an extent how that might have affected his lifespan. Some people die of a broken heart.”


Technology coordinator Ross Metts expressed:


“Gregg Allman was definitely, in the sixties or seventies, one of the premier singers, of what I like to think of classic rock, the southern rock, blues, jazz. I liked the Allman Brothers. He’s been sick for quite some time with liver cancer so it doesn’t come as a complete shock, but definitely a loss to the music world.”


Outside of the Allman Brothers, Allman recorded and released seven studio and two live albums, including a collaboration with his then-wife Cher. 1973’s Laid Back and 1987’s I’m No Angel both hit RIAA’s Gold certification.


Allman previously encountered trouble with his liver, undergoing a replacement in 2010.

Allman died at age 69.