DUANE ALLMAN – ” Died October 29th 1971 “

Posted: November 1, 2015 in MUSIC
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Duane Allman’s memorial service was held at Snow’s Memorial Chapel on November 1, 1971. Nearly 300 friends, musicians and relatives attended. Duane’s guitar case stood in front of the floral-wreathed casket, and the band’s equipment was set up in the rear. At 3pm, the five remaining band members and Thom Doucette took their places. They began with an introduction of slow blues, before Gregg started to sing The Sky Is Crying from behind dark glasses. They played Key To The Highway, then Stormy Monday and In Memory of Elizabeth Reed. Dickey Betts played for Duane in the places where Duane would have normally been heard. Dr. John and Bobby Caldwell joined the band, along with Delaney Bramlett for a hair-raising Will The Circle Be Unbroken, which left many in tears. After a brief tribute by Delaney Bramlett, Gregg sang a few songs by himself, the last being Melissa, introduced as a favorite of his brother. “I never much cared for it, but I’m going to sing it to him.” The rest of the group returned for one last song, Statesboro Blues. When they had finished, Dickey took the Les Paul he was playing – it was Duane’s guitar – and stood it up next to Duane’s guitar case.

Atlantic Records executive Jerry Wexler gave the eulogy. His moving portrayal of Duane’s dedication to Southern gospel, soul and blues music, and the place he attained alongside the great musicians and blues singers from the South captured the magnitude of his musical achievements. At the end of the service, Gregg looked at the assembled guests and said, “I’m very proud that you all came.”

Berry Oakley, Jaimoe, Delaney Bramlett and Dickey playing in front of Duane. Snow’s Memorial Chapel. Macon, GA. November 1, 1971.

R.I.P Duane Allman, Howard Duane Allman was born November 20th, 1946 in Nashville, Tennessee to mother Geraldine Alice and father Willis Allman. Duane faced many obstacles growing up but the worst was his father’s murder by a shell- shocked veteran that Willis was kind enough to give a ride to…

Understandably so, Duane’s mother sent the Duane and Gregg to Castle Heights Military Academy before moving them to Daytona Beach, FL for work which was a lot of change for Duane and Gregg. Eventually the family settled back in Nashville where Gregg started to express interest in the guitar while Duane wanted to ride free along the highway with the wind in his face on his motorcycle.

In his early 20’s Duane finally started to show interest in the guitar, which him and Gregg would fight over until Geraldine bought him a Gibson Les Paul Junior and it was all up hill from there…

The two boys grew up idolizing legends like BB King and really gravitated to the deep, raspy tones carried through the blues. Duane soon became the better of the two brothers, quit high school to focus on his passion at his fingertips and played shows in the area as the Escorts, later known as the Allman Joys. It’s hard to think that Duane Allman was all of 24 years old when he tragically died in a motorcycle accident on October 29th, 1971. How is it possible for a man to accomplish so much in so little time? In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Duane Allman has the second greatest guitarist to ever play, with only Jimi Hendrix ahead of him. Second greatest guitarist ever. And he didn’t even make it to 25. That’s almost unfathomable. And yet, we have the proof. “Skydog”, as he was affectionately known, left behind a body of work that is simply breathtaking. Much of that work, perhaps the most beloved by his fans, came as a member of the band he co-founded with his brother Gregg Allman, The Allman Brothers Band. But he also left behind a host of session work backing up musicians like Aretha Franklin and King Curtis. And there’s also his simply stunning contributions to Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Eric Clapton. “Layla” itself would simply not be the paragon of rock music that it is without Duane Allman’s immaculate slide guitar contributions. Eric Clapton found a kindred spirit in Duane Allman, and even tried to convince him to become a regular member of his band.

duane allman

After teaching himself slide guitar with a pill bottle, Duane’s sound eventually caught the ear and eye of Fame Studios which led him to Wilson Pickett. Even Clapton was mesmerized by his iconic lead break at the end of Wilson Pickett’s “Hey Jude.”

After a year with Muscle Shoals, Duane felt frustrated with the limits the studio time brought him so he decided to call Gregg and bring buddies Betts and Oakley to finally form the Allman Brothers Band in 1969.

The Allman Brothers Band played with Clapton’s Derek and the Dominos and the two became fast friends, bonded by their talents but the two never had the chance to tour with each other due to Duane’s untimely death…

On October 29th, 1971, Duane took a spin around Macon, Georgia on his motorcycle, but while headed down Hillcrest Avenue he unexpectedly met a large flatbed truck and had to swerve out of the way to miss it but unfortunately made some type of contact with either the crane or the bed of the truck which threw him from the bike with a dangerous force. The motorcycle was also launched in the air from the crash and ended up landing on Duane and crushing his internal organs. Although Duane was alive when he was found, he passed away hours later from internal bleeding and other internal complications.He changed our lives forever with his musical influence and wonderful talents.

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