Duane Allman Biography

Howard Duane Allman, 20 November 1946, Nashville, Tennessee, USA, d. 29 October 1971, Macon, Georgia, USA. One of rock’s most inventive and respected guitarists, Allman initially garnered attention as a member of the Allman Joys. This promising group was succeeded by the Hour Glass who recorded two albums prior to their demise when their record company rejected their final recordings. However, Allman’s playing had impressed Rick Hall, owner of the renowned Fame studio, who booked the young musician for a forthcoming session with soul singer Wilson Pickett. The resultant album, Hey Jude (1969), was both a commercial and artistic success, and Allman was invited to join the studio’s in-house team. The guitarist made several distinctive appearances over the ensuing months. He was featured on releases by Aretha Franklin, King Curtis, Clarence Carter, Otis Rush and Boz Scaggs, but grew frustrated with this limiting role. During one of his periodic visits back home to Florida, he joined a group of local musicians which became the Allman Brothers Band with the addition of Gregg Allman, Duane’s younger brother. Despite the deserved success this unit achieved, Duane Allman continued his cameo appearances, the most exceptional of which was his contribution to the Derek And The Dominos classic, Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs. Here he displayed a joyous empathy playing slide guitar alongside fellow guitarist Eric Clapton, which resulted in one of rock’s truly essential sets. However, despite the offer of a permanent slot, Allman preferred to remain with his own group. In the summer of 1971, the Allman Brothers began work on their fourth album, Eat A Peach, but, tired from constant touring, they took a break midway though the sessions. On 29 October, in an effort to avoid a collision with a truck, Allman crashed his motorcycle and died following three hours of intensive surgery. This tragic accident robbed music of one of its exceptional talents, whose all-too-brief legacy reveals an individual of rare skill and humility.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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