Gregg Allman Biography

Gregg Allman, the American singer and songwriter, is best known as the co-founder of the iconic rock band ‘The Allman Brothers Band’. With a passion for R&B music, Allman combined elements of rock, country, and jazz to create his distinctive musical style. As the band’s vocalist and keyboardist, he played a pivotal role in their success. Allman’s talent extended beyond performing, as he also wrote lyrics for the band, contributing to hits like ‘Melissa’, ‘Whipping Post’, and ‘I’m No Angel’. In addition to his work with the band, Allman released seven solo studio albums throughout his illustrious career spanning nearly six decades. Despite the tragic loss of his brother Duane, Allman persevered, continuing with the band and later embarking on a successful solo career. Despite his struggles with substance abuse and battling liver cancer, Allman’s contributions to music were recognized with inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. His enchanting voice and unique singing style solidified his place as one of the pioneers of southern rock.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Gregory LeNoir Allman
  • Died At Age: 69
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Cher (1975–1979), Janice Blair (1973–1974), Julie Bindas (1979–1984), Miranda Stevens (1989–1994), Shelley Jefts (1971–1972), Stacey Fountain (2001–2008)
    • Father: Willis Turner Allman
    • Mother: Geraldine Alice
    • Siblings: Duane Allman
    • Children: Delilah Island Allman, Devon Allman, Elijah Blue Allman, Layla Brooklyn Allman, Michael Sean Allman
  • Musicians
  • Rock Singers
  • Died on: May 27, 2017
  • Place of death: Richmond Hill, Georgia, United States
  • Notable Alumni: Seabreeze High School
  • U.S. State: Tennessee
  • Cause of Death: Liver Cancer
  • City: Nashville, Tennessee
  • More Facts
  • Education: Seabreeze High School

Childhood & Early Life

Gregory LeNoir Allman was born on December 8, 1947 in Nashville, Tennessee, to Geraldine Robbins Allman and Willis Turner Allman. His parents met during World War II in Raleigh. He had one older brother. Tragically, his father was shot and killed on December 26, 1949. After his father’s death, Allman and his brother moved to Nashville with their mother. It was during this time that he was introduced to music by his grandmother’s mentally handicapped neighbor, Jimmy Banes.

Allman’s mother decided to further her education and became a Certified Public Accountant. She had to live on-campus, so Allman and his brother were sent to Castle Heights Military Academy. Allman later realized the sacrifices his mother made to raise them on her own.

Career

During his teenage years, Allman worked as a paperboy to save up money to buy a guitar. He was influenced by Jimmy Banes and eventually bought a Silverstone guitar and started learning to play. He and his brother joined a group called ‘Y Teens’ and began practicing together. They also met Floyd Miles, an American blues guitarist, and the three began jamming together. Their music was heavily influenced by R&B and blues genres.

The Allman brothers eventually moved to Macon, Georgia, and formed a group with Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, Jaimoe, and Butch Trucks. They spent their time jamming together in Rose Hill Cemetery and using psychedelic drugs. The band eventually evolved into The Allman Brothers Band.

The band’s first album, released in 1969, did not receive a good response. They spent the following years touring and performing in concerts to build a fan following. Their fortunes changed in 1971 when they released a live album called ‘At Fillmore East’. The album was a success and earned them a loyal fan base.

However, the band members struggled with fame and the pressure to deliver another hit. They developed heavy drinking and drug habits. In 1971, Duane Allman died in a motorbike accident, which devastated Gregg Allman and the rest of the band. Despite this tragedy, their first live album continued to gain popularity.

The band released their third studio album, ‘Eat a Peach’, in 1972. It was part live and part studio recordings. The album was a commercial success, reaching number four on Billboard’s albums chart.

Unfortunately, Berry Oakley, another band member, was also killed in a motor crash in 1972. The band recruited new members and released their fourth album, ‘Brothers and Sisters’, in 1973. The album topped the Billboard 200 albums chart and established The Allman Brothers Band as one of the biggest rock bands of the 1970s.

Despite their success, the band members began fighting among themselves. Gregg Allman’s decision to work on a solo album added to the tensions within the band. Their next studio album, ‘Win, Lose or Draw’, did not perform as well as their previous ones.

In the mid-1970s, Allman gained attention for his relationship with singer Cher and their subsequent marriage. They released a collaborative album called ‘Two the Hard Way’, which was a major failure. The couple divorced in 1978.

Allman continued to release albums as a solo artist and struggled with alcohol abuse. In 2011, he made a comeback with his album ‘Low Country Blues’, which reached number one on the Top Blues Albums chart.

Major Works

Gregg Allman’s biggest achievement with The Allman Brothers Band was their fourth studio album, ‘Brothers and Sisters’. Allman wrote the lyrics for popular singles like ‘Ramblin’ Man’ and ‘Jessica’. The album sold over seven million copies worldwide.

As a solo artist, Allman had success with his album ‘Low Country Blues’, which reached number one on the Top Blues Albums chart and number five on the Billboard 200.

Personal Life

Gregg Allman was married seven times in his lifetime. His first marriage was to Shelley Kay Jefts in 1971, followed by Janice Blair in 1973. He married pop star Cher in 1975 and they had a son together. They divorced in 1978. Allman had several more marriages, including one to Stacey Fountain in 2001, which lasted seven years. He married Shannon Williams in 2017 and they remained together until his death.

Allman’s health was affected by years of drug addiction and alcohol abuse. He suffered from various health problems, including hepatitis C and liver cancer. He passed away on May 27, 2017, due to complications from his liver cancer.

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