Catch the ‘Midnight Rider’ in Toledo March 14Written by Vicki L. Kroll | | email@example.com
Heartaches, hits and health scares — Gregg Allman has seen incredible highs and lows. Through it all, he turned to music.
“Music — and my mother — were the only anchors I had when times were really hard,” the rocker wrote in an email interview. “Music kept me going, gave my life a purpose, even when I was my own worst enemy. Music truly kept me alive.”
Sorrow started early for Allman and his older brother, Duane; they were kids when their father was murdered. Their mom sent them to military school in Tennessee so she could pursue an accounting degree to support the family.
“My brother and me would listen for hours to WLAC, the big radio station out of Nashville. That’s when we first heard Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Milton, B.B. King and Sonny Boy Williamson. That station had a huge impact on both of us,” he wrote.
“Then there was the time we went to see a revue at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. I was about 12 or so, and we sat way up in the cheap seats. We saw Jackie Wilson and Otis Redding, and we were awestruck, man, just blown away by the power of that music. That is when we caught the fever, and the rest, as they say, is history.”
And what a history. Formed in 1969 with Gregg on vocals and Hammond B-3 organ and Duane on guitar, The Allman Brothers Band helped define Southern rock with “Ramblin’ Man,” “Midnight Rider,” “Melissa,” “Blue Sky,” “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More,” “Jessica” and “Whipping Post.”
Duane died in a motorcycle accident in 1971. Two years later, Gregg released his first solo album. The singer-songwriter with that seasoned, soulful voice continued the band and his own career.
“I’m proud that the Allman Brothers lasted 45 years, and that we went out at the top of our game; my brother would have been proud,” Allman wrote from his home in Savannah, Ga.
The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys in 2012.
In 2011, Allman ended a 14-year drought of solo material with “Low Country Blues,” which was nominated for a Grammy.
He chronicled his life in the 2012 New York Times bestseller, “My Cross to Bear.” The six marriages and divorces — one to Cher — the alcohol, the drugs, 2010 liver transplant.
Surprisingly, Allman didn’t pen his 1987 hit, “I’m No Angel.”
“That one was written by Tony Colton, an English fellow. We were looking for songs to include on the album that became ‘I’m No Angel,’ and my manager at the time received a cassette copy of the song,” Allman wrote. “The first time I heard it, I knew it was the right song for me. ‘I’m No Angel’ got some good radio play, and it’s a constant in my live shows.”
The 67-year-old still loves to play concerts.
“My time on stage is something I really treasure. There is nothing else like it in the world, man,” he wrote. “I’m glad to still be playing music and that people from 60 to 16 enjoy it.”
Allman will perform at 8 p.m. March 14 at Stranahan Theater. Tickets range from $32.50 to $52.50. Opening will be SIMO.
“I want people to dance and sing along to their favorite songs, and most importantly, have so much damn fun that they forget about their problems for a few hours,” Allman wrote. “If they go home with a smile on their face, then I’m happy. That is the power of music right there.”