44 Years Later: Remembering Duane "Skydog" Allman October 29, 2015 11:53

Today, we remember legendary American guitarist, Duane Allman, who lost his life in a motorcycle accident on this day in 1971.  He was just 24 years old.  As co-founder and leader of The Allman Brothers Band, Duane’s skills as a guitarist were complemented by personal qualities such as his intensity, drive and ability to draw the best out of others in making music.  He is still referred to by his nickname "Skydog."

Allman, a sought-after session musician, performed with such established stars as King Curtis, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and Herbie Mann. In November 1968, producer Rick Hall hired Allman to play on an album with Pickett at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL. Allman's work on that album, Hey Jude (1968), got him hired as a full-time session musician at Muscle Shoals.  This also brought him to the attention of a number of other musicians, such as Eric Clapton.  He later contributed heavily to the 1970 album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos.

The Allman Brothers Band was formed in 1969 and based in the Southeastern United States. The band's greatest success came in the early 70's. Allman is best remembered for his brief but influential tenure in the band.  His expressive slide guitar playing and inventive improvisational skills helped create a legacy which will never face.  In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Allman at #2 in their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, second only to Jimi Hendrix and in 2011 he was ranked #9.  His tone (achieved with a Gibson Les Paul and two 50-watt bass Marshall amplifiers) was named one of the greatest guitar tones of all time by Guitar Player.

On October 29, 1971, in the western part of Macon, Georgia, Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident only months after the release and initial success of At Fillmore East. Record producer Jerry Wexler gave the eulogy for Duane. His moving portrayal of Duane's uncompromising dedication to Southern gospel, country and blues music and the place he attained alongside the great black musicians and blues singers from the South captured the magnitude of his musical achievements.

Watch The Allman Brothers Band perform "Dreams" at the Fillmore East on September 23rd, 1970