May 27, 2017

Goodbye to Gregg Allman.



The rock star — who "struggled with many health issues over the past several years" — died today at the age of 69.

Let others stress the music. I remember his relationship with Cher. This detail is stuck forever in my mind:
They had a disastrous first date; Allman sucked on her fingers and tried to kiss her, and Cher fled. Against her better judgment, she agreed to a second date. Allman took her dancing, and they started to connect. "Pulling words out of Gregg Allman is like . . . forget it," she told Playboy that year. "Things started to mellow when he found out that I was a person — that a chick was not just a dummy. For him up till then, they'd had only two uses: make the bed and make it in the bed."
And then:
On June 30th, 1975, five days after Cher's divorce from Sonny Bono was finalized, Cher and Allman went to Las Vegas and got married at Caesar's Palace. It was her second marriage and his third.

They went to Jamaica for the honeymoon, but after a few days Allman picked a fight with Cher, pulling a knife so that she would leave and he could score some heroin. After nine days of marriage, Cher filed for divorce. Allman entered rehab, and a week after Cher had filed they reconciled....

Allman's marriage wasn't stopping his drug abuse and womanizing; realizing the relationship wasn't working, he filed for divorce in November 1975. When Cher discovered she was pregnant a month later, they reconciled once more....

Allman and Cher made a 1977 album, Two the Hard Way, under the name Allman and Woman; in an act of kindness and good taste, the American record-buying public completely ignored it. When Allman passed out at an awards banquet, his face landing in a plate of spaghetti, Cher decided enough was enough. She filed for divorce in 1977; this time there was no reconciliation.
ADDED: Perhaps Cher will give a eulogy for Gregg Allman. She famously spoke at the funeral of Sonny Bono, stealing the show, though Bono had a current wife and it was 23 years since his divorce from Cher. It's 38 years since her divorce from Allman. Allman had no current wife. He'd been divorced from his last wife — his sixth — since 2008. Cher was his third wife. He'd been married to 2 other women before her, and each of those marriages lasted one year. He was with Cher for 4 years. Wife 4 lasted 5 years, wife 5 lasted 5 years, and wife 6 lasted a big 7 years.

Whatever happened to Elijah Blue, the son Allman had with Cher? He's 40 and a singer in a band I've never heard of, Deadzy. He calls himself P. Exeter Blue now, for some reason, not wanting that name, Allman. Here's a 2013 Daily Mail article about him:
"I’ve always been the black sheep of my family. The reason being we just have different value systems and we just have a different mentality and that clashes a lot. We have lots of ups and downs and right now isn’t the best time."...

"Superstars are a difficult and [a] unique breed. You have to be superficial to be a mega celebrity, you have to be… but who you are behind closed doors is really up you, there’s no cameras there. Usually when there’s fame, there’s also brand of some sort, there’s also revenue. So whatever needs to be done to serve the generating of that revenue takes priority. I think that’s too big for anyone (famous) to escape."...

""[Superstars] can look up at the sky and say it’s red and ten other people will jump in line and say it’s red, I’m not one of those people. So when I see that kind of s*** going on… I speak up about it. I don’t think it’s really the best quality of life for someone when they are just enabled to the nth degree, I think history has shown that."...

He was sent to boarding school aged seven...
Phillips Exeter Academy?
... and attended several different establishments over a ten year period. Cher once ‘punished’ him for misbehaving at school by sending him to a military school for a year – although he says he actually enjoyed it.
AND: I guess you can tell I was never much of an Allman Brothers fan? But did you know that when I was a child, my sister and I performed at talent shows under the name The Altman Sisters? We thought Althouse wasn't a good stage name. This was our song.

64 comments:

Clyde said...

He made a lot of great music and wrote a lot of great songs. He'll be missed. At least we still have the music.

gspencer said...

"The rock star who struggled with many health issues"

Yeah, the biggest being forgetting not to marry Cher.

Lucien said...

Man, one of the greats. The live version of Whipping Post on At Fillmore East is one of my favorite tracks ever.

Greg wrote the intro to Whipping Post in 11/4 time without realizing he was doing so. His brother Duane (who was a great musician and died tragically young) did know what Greg was doing and diagrammed it for him later.

Tank said...

Tank's favorite band. So sad they're done. They were jiust peaking when the two best musicians in the band died a year apart.

If any band is following their footsteps, it's Tedeschi Trucks.

Bob Ellison said...

Tank, you probably know that youngish Derek Trucks is doing really good stuff.

AReasonableMan said...

I only began to appreciate Gregg Allman as a singer well after the Allman Brother's peak during his solo career, specifically his singing on "I'm no angel". I then went back to listen to his singing on the band's earlier recordings, where he had been overshadowed by the guitarists. One of the best rock singers.

Quaestor said...

... and good riddance.

I'll never understand the hold pop culture exerts on its devotees.

Tank said...

@Bob

Definitely. Going to see them soon in WIlmington.

Tank said...

@Quester

The ABB was all about the music. They just played.

Birches said...

I had no idea Chet had another kid besides Chas. Why did Sonny's kid get so much more attention than Gregg Allman's? That's weird.

Skookum John said...

I'm with Quaestor. I don't read music, I don't play an instrument, I don't sing. I could easily and happily live the rest of my life without ever hearing another note of music. And the notion of these high school dropouts and drug addicts and showbiz bimbos having anything important to say on any topic outside the entertainment industry is laughable.

Birches said...

Cher not Chet. Dumb autocorrect.

Birches said...

Oh come on, one cannot deny the beauty of "Jessica."

AReasonableMan said...

Skookum John said...
these high school dropouts and drug addicts


You say this like it is a bad thing.

Bay Area Guy said...

Well, I've got to run to keep from hiding
And I'm bound to keep on riding
And I've got one more silver dollar
But I'm not gonna let them catch me, no
Not gonna let 'em catch the midnight rider


- Midnight Rider (1971), Allman Brothers

Allen Edwards said...

No link for "This" at the end of your post.

David Begley said...

Yeah, we need to know the song the Altman Sisters performed.

robinintn said...

I grew up in Atlanta mid 60s-70s; parents hippies, ACLU, Legal Aid types. I haven't thought of Midnight Rider or Whipping Post in probably 30 years, but here they are in my head, whole. There was lots of other music, but they were specially ours, and I think of them as the background to everything. I wasn't well supervised, so I wandered over to Piedmont Park every weekend to (I was maybe 11) hear the music, and they were there, along with the Hampton Grease Band (Bruce Hampton, who was a genius), and many others. There was usually a "riot", and people were often tear gassed and arrested. I thought it was great. I'm about to go look for the Fillmore recording and see how it stands up. But I already know I'll love it.

Kevin said...

Tom Hanks tells David Letterman about being a bellboy when Gregg and Cher were staying in the hotel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLPFajEe9MA

Quaestor said...

The ABB was all about the music. They just played.

Sorry, Tank, but that's bullshit on 'roids.

Unlike Skookum, I am far from indifferent about music. I read music and I have a nodding acquaintance with theory. My personal tastes are vastly eclectic. My playlist starts somewhere in the Renaissance — a little Dowland, a little Monteverdi — lingers loving long in the Baroque, tarries perhaps far too long with Mozart and Hayden... you get the picture. Yet I also enjoy Jethro Tull, and the Who, and many others. But my patience with the utter crap that is the primary product of the so-called music industry of the last 60 years or so is thin beyond reckoning, as it would be to anyone else whose musical education was so carefully shepherded as was mine. I am even less forgiving of the drug-addled noodlers like Greg Allman. So goodbye Mister Allman — too bad there's no afterlife in which to get your comeuppance.

Darryl Thomas said...

I have loved the Allman Brothers for decades.

Gregg Allman was seriously messed up, which helped make him a fine blues musician... and not much of a human being.

The great Dickey Betts from a few years ago, explaining why he tended to write upbeat songs:
“I think with my dad being a fiddle player I kind of naturally liked the uplifting aspects of music. But, I was in a band with Gregg Allman, who is basically a melancholy kind of writer, the beautiful melancholy that Gregg would come with. So, I’m looking at what we have here and I’m thinking how do you balance this out? I don’t want to write a song that makes you want to go hang yourself in the bathroom. So, I would really make an effort to write more up songs, to balance the band out. That kind of influenced the way I wrote."

Rest In Peace

traditionalguy said...

His voice was the background music for life in Atlanta in the late 60s and early 70s. Playing it again makes me feel at home.

Can I show you my tattoo? And Cher said yes.

chickelit said...

The Fillmore East concert was his high point; Cher was his low point.

Ann Althouse said...

"Why did Sonny's kid get so much more attention than Gregg Allman's? "

Sonny and Cher were a very popular musical act, not just a marriage on the side. They performed their coupledom from their earliest days. When "I Got You Babe" was a hit, their own stage performance had them hanging all over each other. It was very compelling to me when I was 14. Later, they had a TV show that was the most popular show on TV for a while. They performed their coupledom there and even kept it going after their marriage broke up.

Chastity was a big part of the TV show. She came out at the end, toddled out, and they picked her up, and the message was: This is the sweetest little girl in the world. America adored the threesome. The child was exploited for the purpose of bullshitting us into idealizing Cher.

Elijah Blue was able to avoid that early exploitation and seems to have gone out of his way after that to keep distance between him and his mother.

Ann Althouse said...

"No link for "This" at the end of your post."

Thanks for the heads-up.

It's fixed now. Enjoy!

rcocean said...

Cute song.

Amazing that Altman made it to 69. I had to laugh at the idea that he didn't know any "smart" chicks till he met Cher.

Wow, Cher as the "smart chick".

rcocean said...

BTW, I always hated the Sonny and Cher show, I thought they were boring.

William said...

Elijah Blue was the black sheep of the Allman/Cher family. Wow. The kid's an overachiever in his way.......Cher chose Greg Allman for husband and Hillary Clinton for President.

Bob Ellison said...

I read musical notation and play by ear. Gregg Allman was a great musician.

Kate said...

"Greg wrote the intro to Whipping Post in 11/4 time without realizing he was doing so. His brother Duane (who was a great musician and died tragically young) did know what Greg was doing and diagrammed it for him later."

Oh, I love this detail. Thanks so much. Instinct and notation. We're listening now to an ABB playlist and just heard Whipping Post.

Lucien said...

I don't agree with ARM on much, but Greg's vocals on I'm No Angel are awesome.

Limited blogger said...

The guy across the hall in my college dorm literally wore out his copy of "Live at the Fillmore East"; I grudgingly came to appreciate the music. I was a hard rocker when I went to school, but came away a fan of many 'southern rock' bands, ABB one of them.

Gregg Allman always seemed true to the music. May he rest in peace.

Birches said...

I also love "I'm no Angel."

I find nothing redeeming about Jethro Tull.

Lucien said...

Cheers Kate - rock on.

Christy said...

Loved The Allman Brothers. My teenage self responded solidly to the ABB. I'd slip my 8-track cartridge in the player, crank up the sound and dance, dance, dance. I saw them in 1970 when they played homecoming weekend at Vandy.

wild chicken said...

I'm a musician, and I loved Eat a Peach and played it a lot while on the road. Jessica was a very happy exultant song. Good times!

But yeah the players themselves would seem awfully narrow and boring to a normal person. Not just Allman.

wild chicken said...

Didn't Gregg sing Nobody Wants to Run with Me Anymore? Loved that one.

Ann Althouse said...

When I see ""Live at the Fillmore East," I think of the Mothers of Invention.

Tank said...

Not sure what Questor's problem is, but the Brothers were "all about the music." Various versions of the band continued on until just a few years ago and even then they were great with Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks at the guitars and Gregg still singing vocals.

Not sure what you think is "bullshit," but you didn't make any kind of argument.

chickelit said...

When I see ""Live at the Fillmore East," I think of the Mothers of Invention.

When I hear "Live at the Fillmore East," I think of John Coltrane.

Etienne said...

Everyone I knew had an 8-track of Eat A Peach in their car.

I missed the whole Cher thing.

shake-and-bake said...

Think I'll drink up a little more wine
To ease my worried mind
And walk down on the street
And leave my blues at home.

Will Cate said...

wild chicken --

The name of the song was "No One To Run With" -- but yeah, great song. R.I.P. Gregory. His 2012 memoir, "My Cross To Bear" is a good read.

Sydney said...

I’ve always been the black sheep of my family. The reason being we just have different value systems
Which in his case apparently means he has his head screwed on straight.

Will Brown said...

"Drug- addled noodlers"...what you've missed by being a "real" musician.

Etienne said...

I loved Greg's story about Duane. Something to do with falling off a horse, and it was Greg's fault. So Greg put a little bottle of pain pills on the porch, rang the doorbell and ran.

A week or so later, Duane has forgiven him, and told him to come over to see something neat.

Duane had dumped the pills and the little glass bottle fit over his fingers, and he used it as a slide on his electric guitar. It gave him a sound that he was just fascinated with.

After Duane died, Greg went and got the bottle, and he said he still had it all these years later.

David Baker said...

There's a puzzling scene from the movie "Moonstruck." It starts off with Olympia Dukakis cooking breakfast, specifically "eggs-in-a-basket," which requires some skill and effort, but when it's finished cooking, neither her nor Cher takes so much as single bite. It's a beautiful breakfast, a special treat, yet the best Cher can do is first eye it with suspicion, then smell it like it's contaminated, then dump salt on it like she's building salt-lick - for horses.

In fact, it was a scene right out of acting school, because the phone was scripted to ring - so Cher had to be ready to answer it. On cue. Like she couldn't manage two simple ideas at once.

Now, you might naturally think that Dukakis would take a bite, be she was also stalling like a daffy, even with the finished eggs and peppers sitting right under her nose. Like she had nothing better to do than simply sit there twiddling her thumbs while that beautiful breakfast turned into dog food.

The entire scene was built on and around that breakfast. Even the camera couldn't take its eyes off of it. But in the end it was amateur night at I don't know where.

(Btw, Moonstruck is one of my favorite movies:)

surfed said...

I was in the Beaver St Woodstock community center the first night in early 1969 when Duane got on stage with Dickey's band the Second Coming. I was there for their first ever show as the Allman Brothers in the Jacksonville Beach coliseum. They were amazing. Its been almost 50 years now... Time does indeed pass. And quickly too.

chickelit said...

Gregg Allman never recovered from losing Duane so young. Duane was sort of father figure for Gregg (the brothers' real father was murdered by a random hitchhiker and their mother never remarried). So Gregg lost two fathers and a brother. I wonder if his remains will be interred next to Duane and Berry Oakley?

eddie willers said...

Gregg Allman never recovered from losing Duane so young.

Being an Atlanta native of a certain age (65) I, too, went to many of their free concerts at Piedmont Park and they even played my high school graduation dance.

Their first two albums, The Allman Brothers Band and Idlewild South were little heard outside of the south, but both were masterpieces that were never surpassed.

They were so good that I didn't even buy At Fillmore East since they were "just" live versions of the songs I already knew. (I eventually got the CD version, though)

And though the actual recordings are not pristine (tape hiss, compression, etc.), the music and punch of those first two albums are almost unbelievable. If you do not have them....GET THEM!

Before Duane died, they were the best band in America. Though they remained a "good" band, they weren't the transcendental musicians they were with him. I never bought another thing from them after Duane died.

Snark said...

It never fails to amaze me how much he sounded like Springsteen on "I'm No Angel". Go ahead and listen and you'll never be able to unhear it again. You're welcome!

Tank said...

Sydney said...
I’ve always been the black sheep of my family. The reason being we just have different value systems
Which in his case apparently means he has his head screwed on straight.


LOL, probably true.

Tank said...

eddie willers said...
Gregg Allman never recovered from losing Duane so young.

Being an Atlanta native of a certain age (65) I, too, went to many of their free concerts at Piedmont Park and they even played my high school graduation dance.

Their first two albums, The Allman Brothers Band and Idlewild South were little heard outside of the south, but both were masterpieces that were never surpassed.

They were so good that I didn't even buy At Fillmore East since they were "just" live versions of the songs I already knew. (I eventually got the CD version, though)

And though the actual recordings are not pristine (tape hiss, compression, etc.), the music and punch of those first two albums are almost unbelievable. If you do not have them....GET THEM!

Before Duane died, they were the best band in America. Though they remained a "good" band, they weren't the transcendental musicians they were with him. I never bought another thing from them after Duane died.


Well put, particularly about Duane; he was THE MAN (I have a license plate on my car that says Skydog, his nickname).

I can tell you that my NJ buds and I all had the first two albums as they came out. It was not unusual to have ten guys in my basement singing to the Brothers.

Phil 3:14 said...

Any relationship between his many health issues and his heroin use?

ganderson said...

Re: Live at the Fillmore East: I had both and loved them both, ( a great version of "Little House I used to Live In") and wore out my copies of both. As for the first two ABB records we certainly listened to them in the Upper Midwest- they got a lot of airplay on KQRS, one of the first free-form stations in the US.

JAORE said...

Like the ABB music.... but back to Cher.

I didn't read the entire piece on her relationship. After the description of the first dates all I could think of is, what brain dead idiot would return to THAT trough?

Oh yeah, Cher.

Paul said...

"II could easily and happily live the rest of my life without ever hearing another note of music."

This is what true poverty of the soul looks like.

Bad Lieutenant said...

What the hell do you know? Maybe he's tone deaf. Everybody doesn't like what you like.

Personally, I often think, not always, that I could do very well without being subjected to what passes these days for vocals.

Also, I rarely to never watch TV anymore of my own volition. I suppose I'm also a troglodyte for that reason.

Paul said...

"What the hell do you know? Maybe he's tone deaf. Everybody doesn't like what you like."

A lot more than you apparently. To not be moved by music is as close to a living death as I can imagine. I guess it sucks to be you but on the other hand who cares.

eddie willers said...

Maybe he really IS tone deaf. Otherwise it is unimaginable to me not to love good music.

But I have realized that most people just "like" music. They hear a melody and it makes their toes tap, but then, on to the next song. My niece and nephew are like that. Play some tunes through their iPhone and they are perfectly satisfied. I don't think they could pick out an instrument if their life depended on it. And hey, most pop hits today don't even have instruments. They're just beats and melodies thrown up by a computer.

My new Giles Martin remix of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band arrived today and as soon as my niece and nephew go back to work, I'm playing that sucker loud with my head directly in the middle of my large, floor-standing Polk speakers.

Bad Lieutenant said...

A lot more than you apparently. To not be moved by music is as close to a living death as I can imagine. I guess it sucks to be you but on the other hand who cares.

5/28/17, 12:59 PM


Maybe you should pay less attention to music and more to literature, as in, learn to read.

I'm not the one who doesn't like music or is possibly tone deaf (I have perfect pitch, women on the other end of the phone swoon at the sound of my voice, and strangers come up to me and ask if I do voice work).

I'm the one who likes instrumentals and is tired of listening to people whining about some woman. The human voice as instrument is very well and good, but I think lyrics have been letting us down for a while. Not to be prating of myself, the point is that you have confused two different people.

We can agree that neither of us cares what the other thinks but in a slightly different way. For my part I will just refer you to the immortal Stephen Crane:

"Think as I think," said a man,
"Or you are abominably wicked;
You are a toad."
And after I had thought of it,
I said: "I will, then, be a toad."

If I was a freaking baritone at the Met I wouldn't agree with you bashing that guy, you fluffernutter.

eddie willers said...

After Duane died, Greg went and got the bottle, and he said he still had it all these years later.

Actually, he had a cold and Greg left a bottle of Coricidin.

According to the Wikipedia article I linked to, they quit making the glass bottle in the early 80's but replicas are still being made and are sold at guitar stores.

I did a quick search and saw where an original Coricidin bottle was sold on eBay for $149.99!

Mac McConnell said...

chickelit said...

"I wonder if his remains will be interred next to Duane and Berry Oakley?"

Yes, the same cemetery in Macon, Georgia.

Shelly Watson said...

Love the ABB! Gregg was so handsome back in the day, and one of my favorite singers. Duane is my favorite guitar player. No can can touch him on slide.They were all about the music, not theatrics.