Celebrated rock musician Gregg Allman, one of the pioneers of "southern rock" and who with his late brother Duane founded the Allman Brothers Band, has unfortunately died. He died earlier today at the age of 69. He died of liver cancer complications. In 2010 he received a liver transplant.
I suppose considering all of the hard living he did all those years he was lucky to have lived as long as he did, but he should have had many more years.
Allman suffered much personal tragedy as well as substance abuse from the time he was a toddler, beginning with the murder of his father. As everybody knows, his celebrated guitarist brother, Duane, was killed in a motorcycle accident back in 1971, aged only 24, but Gregg continued on for decades.
Along the way he acquired quite a few wives or whatever you call them, six in all, including Cher back in the late 1970s. He also had five children, all by different women, including Elijah Blue by Cher.
He had many health issues in recent years, and some of the gossip rags had him close to death's door.
From the New York Times:
The band’s lead singer and keyboardist, Mr. Allman was one of the principal architects of a taut, improvisatory fusion of blues, jazz, country and rock that — streamlined by inheritors like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band — became the Southern rock of the 1970s.
The group, which originally featured Mr. Allman’s older brother, Duane, on lead and slide guitar, was also a precursor to a generation of popular jam bands, like Widespread Panic and Phish, whose music features labyrinthine instrumental exchanges.
Mr. Allman’s percussive Hammond B-3 organ playing helped anchor the Allman Brothers’ rhythm section and provided a chuffing counterpoint to the often heated musical interplay between his brother and the band’s other lead guitarist, Dickey Betts.
Gregg Allman’s vocals, by turns squalling and brooding, took their cue from the anguished emoting of down-home blues singers like Elmore James, as well as from more sophisticated ones like Bobby Bland. Foremost among Mr. Allman’s influences as a vocalist, though, was the Mississippi-born blues and soul singer and guitarist known as Little Milton.
Here is an interview with Allman on how he kept the band going after Duane's death.
A vintage TV appearance from way, way back in 1987: