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Members Of The Allman Brothers Band Recall Tragic Death Of Duane Allman

Angela Weiss, Getty Images

The Allman Brothers Band have weathered a number of storms in their lengthy history as a group, but it was the tragic 1971 death of guitarist Duane Allman in a motorcycle accident that really shook the band at its core and left them wondering how they were going to carry on.

The individual members of the band remember the time period in a new interview with Classic Rock magazine, with drummer Butch Trucks remembering how he had walked out of the hospital “stunned” with the knowledge that Allman, less than a month away from celebrating his 25th birthday, was dead.

“You simply can’t absorb something that overwhelming all at once,” he says. “It took a couple of weeks before I could even accept that he was dead. I mean, I still have dreams 40 years later, that I run into Duane. I’ll be out somewhere and I just run into him. There’s still part of me that hasn’t turned him loose and never will.”

Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler gave the eulogy at Allman’s service and reminded all that were in attendance that Duane had left behind a lot to remember in the short time that he was alive. “This young, beautiful man who we love so dearly, but who is not lost to us, because we have his music – and the music is imperishable.”

For Gregg Allman, the loss of Duane was something that he called “a nightmare that I can’t exactly remember.”

Gregg would play a big part in helping the band move forward. “We had a long meeting after everybody got their brains back,” he recalls. “I said that if we didn’t keep playing and recording and traveling, we were going to fall by the wayside and we’d never amount to much at all.”

After a short tour, the band was back in the studio working on the album that would become ‘Eat A Peach.’ One of the first songs that they put down was Gregg’s ‘Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More’ and Allman credits that composition as being the “song that helped me get back on my feet after Duane passed.”

Forty years later, the Allman Brothers Band have been celebrating the legacy of ‘Eat A Peach’ by performing the full album in its entirety, and Gregg says “I think ‘Eat A Peach’ has just the right sequence. I really love the album.” He goes on to say that he considers ‘Peach’ and ‘Live at Fillmore East’ as “the roots of our whole thing as a band.”

The Allman Brothers Band will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at next year’s Grammy Awards.

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