American singer/songwriter/muso and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Gregg Allman has died at age 69 due to complications with liver cancer.
Considered the driving force behind ground-breaking southern US rockers The Allman Brothers Band, Nashville-born Allman was both their vocalist and Hammond organist.
Incredibly influential, the jam-heavy sound which Allman and his band shaped – a fusion of everything from country to jazz, blues and straight-out rock – led the way for the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band in the 1970s, as well as more leftfield bands like Phish.
Allman originally started the band with his brother, Duane. However, following their breakthrough 1971 third album At Fillmore East, Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident. Tragedy continued to beset the band when they lost their bassist, Berry Oakley, the following year. Undeterred, the surviving Allman Brothers Band released the L.P. Brothers and Sisters, featuring classic tracks Ramblin’ Man and what many know as the theme to the TV car show Top Gear, the instrumental Jessica.
It was then solo career time for Allman, with his debut album Laid Back. The band split soon after, leaving Allman both with the Gregg Allman Band and a new wife in Cher. The pair had one child together, Elijah Blue.
While that marriage dissolved in 1979, Allman’s solo career continued, including a hit single, I’m No Angel, in 1987.
The Allman Brothers Band later reformed, playing gigs up until 2014, while Allman also continued to release solo recordings.
In his 2012 autobiography My Cross to Bear, Allman wrote, “Music is my life's blood. I love music, I love to play good music, and I love to play music for people who appreciate it. And when it's all said and done, I'll go to my grave and my brother will greet me, saying, "Nice work, little brother – you did all right."
Vale Gregg Allman.