Gregg Allman

From Academic Kids

Gregg Allman (born December 8, 1947) (sometimes spelled Greg Allman) is a rock and roll singer and lyricist.

Gregory Lenoir Allman took an interest in the guitar before his older brother Duane did. But while Duane would soon become the superior guitarist, Gregg eventually took over vocal chores and became known as one of the greatest white blues singers ever.

In the mid- to late-1960s, the Allmans played in a series of bands including The Escorts and Allman Joys, mostly gigging around their native American Southeast. (The pair were born in Nashville, Tennessee and raised in Daytona, Florida). Toward the end of the decade, The Allman Joys relocated to Los Angeles, California, and were signed to Liberty Records, which renamed them the Hour Glass. Strongly controlled by the label, the group produced a pair of psychedelic blues albums. All the players were deeply dissatisfied with the results. Duane Allman in particular spoke bitterly of the Hour Glass's output.

After its second album, the band broke up and Duane Allman returned to the South, playing sessions at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. In time, he would put together the group that would become The Allman Brothers Band - Duane and Dickey Betts on guitars, Berry Oakley on bass, and Butch Trucks and Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson on drums. Liberty Records believed that Gregg Allman had potential as a solo act, and allowed the rest of the Hour Glass to go on condition that he stay in California to record for them. He quickly grew miserable with this arrangement, and when Duane called from Jacksonville, Florida in March 1969 to say that he had assembled a band that needed a singer, Gregg jumped at the opportunity. He had long wanted to play the Hammond Organ, and was given one immediately upon joining the band, which he had to learn to play in a hurry. He has played the Hammond B-3 and handled most of the lead vocal duties for the band (when it has been together), along with occasional piano and guitar contributions, ever since.

His fame will always be primarily linked to The Allman Brothers Band, but beginning in the mid-1970s, Allman carved out a solo career. His first album, Laid Back, was released in 1973. It includes a number of reworked Allman Brothers songs, such as a horn-laden, swampy version of Midnight Rider (one of the band's most famous songs), and originals like Queen of Hearts, which Allman and the band felt did not quite fit the Allman Brothers Band sound. There are also a few cover songs on the record, such as the traditional Will the Circle Be Unbroken?, and These Days, written by the singer Jackson Browne, Allman's roommate during his pre-Allman Brothers days in California. His solo career has continued intermittently throughout the last three decades, sometimes touring when the Allman Brothers is off the road. Generally, these solo efforts - first with the Gregg Allman Band, and today with Gregg Allman and Friends - eschew lengthy guitar solos and cast Allman more in the mode of his favorite soul singers. The bands often include a horn section and are more groove-oriented. The template of mixing originals with reworked Allman Brothers songs and covers of blues, R&B and soul classics remains in place.

Allman's biggest hit single came in 1986 with "I'm No Angel," from the album of the same name. The song's production is overly slick, as befits the time it was recorded, but it is in a sense a more radio-friendly take on a prideful blues boast, which he has always done well. It fits with Allman's persona as a singer, although he did not write the song.

Gregg Allman struggled with drugs both legal and illegal, primarily cocaine, heroin and alcohol, from the 1970s onward. But he is sober as of the mid '90s and has often spoken in interviews of being revitalized and enjoying life again. Not surprisingly, his output and the quality of his vocals have improved with sobriety. He continues to tour every year with both The Allman Brothers Band, which in 2003 released its first studio album in nearly a decade, and Gregg Allman and Friends.

He was married to Cher during the 1970s. Together, they had a son, Elijah Blue Allman, who is now a musician as well.

He currently resides in Richmond Hill, GA.

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