The Allman Brothers Band is a Southern rock band based in Macon, Georgia, United States. The band was formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1969 by brothers Duane Allman (slide guitar and lead guitar) and Gregg Allman (vocals, organ). While the band has been called the "principal architects of Southern rock", they also incorporate elements of blues-rock and hard rock, and their live shows have jam band-style improvisation and instrumental songs.
In 1971, George Kimball of the Rolling Stone Magazine hailed them as "the best damn rock and roll band" of "the past five years." The band has been awarded eleven Gold and five Platinum albums between 1971 and 2005. Rolling Stone ranked them 52nd on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2004. The band continues to record and tour to the present day.
Gregg and Duane Allman performing with The Allman Brothers Band live at the Fillmore East, , 1970
The band was formed in Jacksonville, Florida on , 1969, and consisted of Duane Allman (slide guitar and lead guitar), Gregg Allman (vocals, organ), Dickey Betts (lead guitar, rhythm guitar, vocals), Berry Oakley (bass), Butch Trucks (drums) and Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson (Drums).
The actual Allman brothers, Duane and Gregg, grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida, and had been playing music publicly since the early 1960s. They formed a garage band called the Escorts in 1963, which then evolved into the Allman Joys in 1965. From there the brothers formed The Hour Glass and moved to Los Angeles. The Hour Glass released two failed albums from Liberty Records in 1967 and 1968. They were all released from the contract except Gregg, who Liberty thought might have some commercial potential. Gregg and Duane had previously met Butch Trucks and his band the The 31st of February while touring as the Allman Joys, and decided to record an album with them in September 1968, shortly after the breakup of The Hour Glass. This album was eventually released as Duane & Greg Allman on the Bold Records label in 1972. Duane Allman played on Wilson Pickett's hit version of "Hey Jude" and became the primary session guitarist for FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, recording with Aretha Franklin, King Curtis, Percy Sledge, and others. Allman started jamming with Dickey Betts, Butch Trucks and Berry Oakley in Jacksonville. Eddie Hinton, with whom Duane Allman had played in Muscle Shoals, was considered to play guitar, but Hinton refused in order to join the Muscle Shoals studio band. Duane brought in Jaimoe, a drummer he had played with in the past. Gregg was in Los Angeles, fulfilling the Hour Glass contract with Liberty Records. He was summoned back to Jacksonville.
The Allman Brothers Band played numerous shows in the South before releasing their debut album, The Allman Brothers Band to great critical acclaim, though the blues-rock album found few listeners, attracting only a cult following. Most of the record had a blues-rock sound, but "Dreams", a spacy number in 12/8 time, would provide the framework for some of their live jams.
Idlewild South (1970), the followup, produced by Tom Dowd, was a massive critical success, and managed to be quite lucrative, as well. The upbeat "Revival" and the moody-but-resolute "Midnight Rider" showed the band getting more adept at shorter, radio-friendly song forms. (It was after the release of Idlewild South that Duane Allman joined in the recording of the classic Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs with Eric Clapton's Derek and the Dominos group.)
1971 saw the release of a live album, At Fillmore East, recorded on Friday and Saturday and of that year at the legendary rock venue the Fillmore East. The album was another huge hit. Rolling Stone listed At Fillmore East as one of Rolling Stone