Southern blues rocker Duane Allman first became interested in music at age 14 after seeing a B.B. King concert with his younger brother, Gregg Allman. They both became entranced with his music, and after Gregg brought home a guitar, Duane became obse… Read more
Southern blues rocker Duane Allman first became interested in music at age 14 after seeing a B.B. King concert with his younger brother, Gregg Allman. They both became entranced with his music, and after Gregg brought home a guitar, Duane became obsessed with the instrument. He dropped out of high school to stay home and practiced for hours on end. The two brothers had relatively small success with their first bands, including the Allman Joys and the Hour Glass. Both groups disbanded relatively quickly.
Duane Allman continued to hone his guitar skills on his own. He was known to have taught himself slide guitar with a plastic pill bottle while at home sick in bed. His abilities caught the attention of Rick Hall, owner of FAME Studios in Alabama, who recruited him to be a session musician. He was a valuable asset at these studio gigs, and recorded guitar parts for many iconic artists, including as Eric Clapton and Aretha Franklin.
Duane Allman grew tired of life as a session musician, and jumped at the chance to form a new band when drummer Jaimoe Johanson came to him with such a proposal. Duane moved back to Jacksonville, Florida and started jamming with his friends Butch Trucks, Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, and his younger brother Gregg. The Allman Brothers Band was formed in 1969 and released their debut self-titled album in the same year. They all knew they had special chemistry from the beginning, and band went on to become one of the most influential groups of the 1970s. Duane's contributions were monumental, yet short-lived. Duane toured with the band while continuing to record at studio sessions whenever he could. His signature Gibson Les Paul Southern Rock guitar sound was highly sought after.
In 1971, Duane was in a motorcycle accident and died shortly thereafter. The Allman Brothers Band continued to play music, much of it dedicated to their fallen friend. Duane Allman's career was brief but he left a powerful lasting mark on the musical world with his expressive solos and the beautiful tones he coerced from his guitar. Today, he is considered among the most iconic figures in southern rock history.