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The Allman Brothers Band

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The Allman Brothers Band
Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Gregg Allman was referred to as a Southern rock pioneer and received numerous awards, including several Grammys. Following a series of health problems, including hepatitis C and a 2010 liver transplant, Allman died at his home in Richmond Hill, Georgia, on May 27, 2017, due to complications of liver cancer.

The double album Eat A Peach (subtitled Dedicated To A Brother) was released in February 1971 to strong reviews. Charles Shaar Murray wrote in Oz: “The Allman Brothers Band keep right on hittin’ the note.” Rolling Stone tried to earn back the good graces of the band with a review that called them “the best-goddamned band in the land” and the album “a simultaneous sorrowed ending and hopeful beginning”. It was in the US chart by early March and climbed to No 4.

As it turned out, Eat A Peach was a brief respite from more tragedy and trouble. Nearly a year to the day after Duane’s death, bassist Berry Oakley died in a motorcycle accident in Macon. “I don’t think Berry really knew how to exist in a world without Duane,” Trucks says of Oakley’s decline. Later, drugs, drink, ego clashes, label problems and lawsuits would eventually break up the band not once but twice (when Betts was unable to curb his substance abuse, they fired him in 2000). Today, Gregg Allman reflects on what might have been had his brother lived.

Trucks says: “We took it to where Cream and the Grateful Dead took it, then added John Coltrane and Herbie Hancock to the mix and stirred it a bit, and we were up in places that no one else was thinking about. When I hear people describe Eat A Peach as southern rock I get fighting mad.”

Gregg concludes: “One of the hardest parts of doing a record is putting the songs in the right order: you want hills and valleys, and you don’t want the music to get mundane, and it will do that if you put the wrong two songs together. I think Eat A Peach has just the right sequence. I really love the album, and I’m so glad it did come out as a two-record set. That and Fillmore East are definitely the roots of our whole thing as a band.”

“The images on the cover of Eat A Peach are basically found in art,” says designer W David Powell. “They came from postcards that we picked up in a drugstore in Athens, Georgia. The postcards had the trucks with the giant peach and watermelon. I added lettering with the band name to the trucks, and pasted the cards onto a background, spray- painted pink and blue.”

Powell and his college buddy Jim Holmes launched their company Wonder Graphics in the late 60s, and had already done artwork for Capricorn Records band Wet Willie. Though The Allman Brothers assignment was a big opportunity, Powell says they didn’t feel any pressure.

“Everything was pretty loosey-goosey in those days. We took the project and ran with it. We did have one fairly radical idea for the cover: we didn’t want anything but the band name on the truck; no hard sell or titling. Miraculously, the label okayed it.”

When they delivered the artwork to the label there was still no title. Capricorn’s Phil Walden wanted to call it This Is How We Grow ‘Em In Dixie (the inscription on one of the postcards) but the band nixed it. Instead, they remembered something Duane had once told an interviewer: “Whenever I’m in Georgia, I eat a peach for peace.” Forty years on, an urban legend persists about the peach truck, claiming that it was the fatal vehicle in Duane’s death. Not true.

Voted by Rolling Stone as one of the 100 greatest album covers of all time, the Eat A Peach sleeve has reached iconic status. For Powell, now a college professor, its success comes down to one thing: “The whole project was not arrived at through meetings or rational thought. Free association was the modus operandi.”

Important Dates In The Life Of The Allman Brothers Band:

On this day in music
19 Aug 2019
The guitar Duane Allman played on the classic Derek and the Dominos song ‘Layla’ sold for $1million (£820,000) at auction. The 1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop was Allman’s main guitar during the first two years of the Allman Brothers Band and was played on their 1969 self-titled debut album and 1970 follow-up Idlewild South. 'Layla' was one of the final recordings that featured Allman playing that guitar as soon after, the guitarist swapped it for a 1959 Les Paul.
27 May 2017
Gregg Allman, founding member of the The Allman Brothers Band died at the age of 69 at his home in Savannah, Georgia. Allman had suffered a recurrruence of liver cancer five years ago, died from complications of the disease. The band’s main songwriter early on, Allman contributed compositions like 'Dreams' and 'Whipping Post' to the Allman Brothers repertoire. Both songs became staples of their live shows; a cathartic 22-minute version of 'Whipping Post' was a highlight of their acclaimed 1971 live album, At Fillmore East.
24 Jan 2017
American drummer Butch Trucks from The Allman Brothers Band died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in West Palm Beach, Florida, at the age of 69. He played in various groups before forming the 31st of February while at Florida State University in the mid 1960s. He joined the Allman Brothers Band in 1969. Their 1971 live release, At Fillmore East, represented an artistic and commercial breakthrough.
27 Dec 2008
Thieves broke into a house belonging to The Allman Brothers Band singer and keyboardist Gregg Allman in Georgia and stole a coin collection, knives and unreleased concert recordings. Two men where charged with the burglary two days later.
30 Nov 2007
During a Christies Rock & Roll auction held the Rockefeller Plaza, New York City a collection of 276 ticket stubs compiled by a rock journalist who covered many rock concerts at New York City venues sold for $2,000. The tickets included concerts by: Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Rolling Stones, Frank Zappa, The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, The Allman Brothers Band, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Grateful Dead and Bruce Springsteen.
27 Oct 2002
American record producer Tom Dowd died of emphysema. He recorded albums by many artists including: Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Derek and the Dominos, Rod Stewart, Aretha Franklin, Cream, Lulu, Chicago, The Allman Brothers Band, The J. Geils Band, Meat Loaf, Sonny & Cher, The Rascals, Willie Nelson, Diana Ross, Kenny Loggins, Dusty Springfield, The Drifters and Otis Redding.
24 Mar 2001
A stretch of road on Highway 19 in Macon, Georgia, was named Duane Allman Boulevard, near where The Allman Brothers Band guitarist died aged 24 in a motorcycle crash on October 29, 1971.
26 Aug 2000
Allen Woody former bass player with The Allman Brothers Band and co-founder of Gov't Mule was found dead in New York aged 44.
26 Oct 1991
Legendary Rock concert promoter Bill Graham was killed when the Bell 206B JetRanger III helicopter he was riding in struck the top of a Pacific Gas and Electric transmission tower near Sears Point, northwest of Vallejo and exploded. The crash, which left the helicopter's wreckage dangling near the top of the towering structure, killed Graham, his girlfriend Melissa Gold and pilot Steve Kahn. Graham had founded the Fillmore theaters in San Francisco and New York and had played key roles in supporting such bands as The Who, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Janis Joplin, The Band, Bob Dylan, The J. Geils Band, The Allman Brothers Band and The Rolling Stones.
21 Jan 1983
The Allman Brothers Band bassist Lamar Williams died of lung cancer age 34. He joined the band in 1972 after the death of original bassist Berry Oakley. His doctors believed that the disease was derived from exposure to Agent Orange during his Vietnam service. Opposed to the war and to killing in general, Williams went AWOL frequently and wandered around the jungles of South Vietnam, occasionally returning to various units. He was given an honorable discharge in 1970.
28 May 1976
The Allman Brothers Band temporarily disbanded after Greg Allman testified against Scooter Herring, his personal road manager, who was charged with drug trafficking. Herring was subsequently sentenced to 75 years in prison. An album of previously unreleased live material was issued later in the year under the title 'Wipe the Windows, Check the Oil, Dollar Gas'.
20 Jun 1974
Van Morrison, The Allman Brothers Band, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Tim Buckley, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band and The Doobie Brothers all appeared at Knebworth Park, Stevenage, England. A special PA system was used for the event, claiming to be the best ever for an outside show, weighing 12 tons and needing five technicians.
28 Jul 1973
The Watkins Glen outdoor summer jam was held outside of Watkins Glen, New York with The Allman Brothers Band, the Grateful Dead and The Band. Over 600,000 rock fans attended. Many historians claimed the event was the largest gathering of people in the history of the United States. 150,000 tickets were sold for $10 each, but for all the other people it was a free concert. The crowd was so huge that a large part of the audience was not able to see the stage.
3 Jul 1973
Laurens Hammond the inventor of the Hammond organ died aged 73. Many rock artists including Procol Harum, Keith Emerson, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Allman Brothers Band and the Faces featured the sound of the Hammond. He also invented a silent spring-driven clock and during the second world war he helped design guided missile systems.
11 Nov 1972
The Allman Brothers Band bass player Berry Oakley was killed when his motorcycle hit a bus at the same intersection as former band member Duane Allman, who had died a year earlier. Oakley was 24 years old.
29 Oct 1971
Duane Allman of The Allman Brothers Band was killed when he lost control of his motorcycle on a Macon, Georgia street while trying to swerve to avoid a tractor-trailer and was thrown from the motorcycle. The motorcycle bounced into the air, landed on Allman and skidded another 90 feet with Allman pinned underneath. He was three weeks shy of his 25th birthday.
27 Mar 1971
Bruce Springsteen & Friendly Enemies opened for The Allman Brothers Band at the Sunshine In, Asbury Park in New Jersey, tickets cost $4.00. Springsteen had just disbanded his group Steel Mill and within a few weeks would form Dr Zoom & The Sonic Boom with Steve Van Zandt.
12 Mar 1971
The Allman Brothers Band played the first of two nights at the Fillmore East, New York. Both shows were recorded and released as The Allman Brothers live double album, which became the groups breakthrough album.
30 Apr 1970
Twiggs Lyndon, the road manager for The Allman Brothers Band was arrested for murder after he stabbed a club manager during an argument over a contract. At the ensuing trial, Lyndon's lawyers argued that he had been temporarily insane at the time of the incident and that touring with the Allman Brothers would drive anyone insane. Lyndon was acquitted.
19 Jul 1968
Pink Floyd played the second of three nights at the Boston Tea Party, Boston, Massachusetts. Opened in January 1967 as a psychedelic club, many many famous artists, including Grateful Dead, Neil Young, The J. Geils Band, Frank Zappa, Cream, Fleetwood Mac, The Allman Brothers Band, Led Zeppelin, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jeff Beck, The Who, Santana, Taj Mahal, Ten Years After and Sly & the Family Stone all appeared.
3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Aynne

    October 30, 2019 at 2:06 am

    Got my peach tattoo in the 70’s…My fave band

  2. Linda Lowery

    October 30, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    I seen the Allman Brother Band so many times! They played all the time here in Ga! I was lucky enough to get his autograph on a picture that my brother had made of him in 1985! He also gave me their play list that they kept on the floor while playing! Greg was really a shy person! I went so often to their playing small places that I got to know his Mother, what a sweetheart! We have been blessed with a new generation band called Allman & Betts! Son of Greg & son of Dickie Betts are playing concerts & have at least 1 album out! Carry on that Muscle Shoals music guys, your Fathers would be very proud of y’all! We Ga girls started being called Peaches after the album came out! Miss each one that has gone before us, but still have & play their albums! ✌️❤️

  3. Ron

    December 5, 2022 at 9:33 pm

    They were incredible listening to them was I going to church I don’t know what to say they lifted the roof off the building so many times if I had to choose between them and Jerry it was hard you couldn’t split the baby they were the best

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