Duane Allman didn't have a lot of time to make his mark as a guitarist – just ten short years from the day he bought his first guitar at age 14 until the day he died at age 24. But Allman (who would have celebrated his 66th birthday today) packed some incredible material into those years, and 40 years after his death, he's still considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time.
Duane Allman (Wikimedia Commons/Ed Berman)
Allman is best known as one of the brothers of the eponymous band, but Duane and his brother Gregg formed a few other (semi-successful) bands along the way – the Escorts, the Allman Joys, Hour Glass.
After putting together The Allman Brothers Band in 1969, Duane and Gregg began to make their mark, and Duane’s fine guitar work began to be noticed. When Eric Clapton got a chance to see The Allman Brothers in concert and meet the band, he didn't hesitate – he brought Duane to the studio, where he was recording Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs with his band Derek and the Dominos. After an all-night jam session, Allman became an integral part of Clapton’s band, contributing to most of the songs on the album. The most famous had Allman and Clapton sharing magnificent guitar riffs on one of rock music's finest love songs.
The following year brought The Allman Brothers Band's seminal live recording, At Fillmore East. It was the last full album Duane would record with the band – he was killed in a motorcycle accident just months after the album’s release.
Allman's bandmates paid tribute to him with the name of their next album, Eat a Peach. Looking at peach-themed cover art and a title they didn't much like (The Kind We Grow in Dixie), the band renamed the album after an interview quip from Duane. Asked what he was doing to help the revolution, he responded, "There ain't no revolution, it's evolution, but every time I'm in Georgia I eat a peach for peace."
Written by Linnea Crowther. Originally published November 2011.