Throughout the band’s history, Allman Brothers songs helped define Southern rock. They seamlessly melded elements of country, heavy blues, jazz, and folk, into their own unique sound, which inspired artists from each of those genres over many generations.
The band was started by the brothers Duane and Gregg Allman. With various members joining in, renowned live shows, and a myriad of drum and guitar solos, the Allman Brothers built a legendary career that lasted from 1969 through 2014.
Here’s a list of Allman Brothers’ biggest hits of all time.
1. “Whipping Post”
Believe it or not, but Gregg wrote this searing ballad on a cover of an ironing board. The idea of the song came so fast in the middle of the night that he didn’t even have the chance to get a paper out. It tells the tale of a man whose lover’s betrayal made him feel like he’s been tied to a whipping post, waiting for more punishment.
This seven-minute instrumental piece “Jessica” was written by Dickey Betts as an attempt to be played with just two fingers. This is to pay tribute to arguably the most iconic jazz guitarist of all time, Django Reinhardt, who played the guitar using only the index and middle fingers after suffering severe burns on his left hand.
3. “Blue Sky”
Written by Betts about his Native Canadian girlfriend, “Blue Sky” was one of guitarist Duane Allman’s final recorded performances with the group. Duane died before Eat a Peach album was released.
4. “Mountain Jam”
With more than thirty minutes in length, “Mountain Jam” was a magical song for Allman Brothers fans as it features powerfully remarkable guitar solos from Duane and Dickey, as well as Gregg’s expressive organ work. The longest version of this piece went on for a full forty-four minutes during the 1970 live album at Ludlow Garage.
Gregg Allman wrote the sorrowful ballad about unfulfilled dreams even before forming The Allman Brothers Band. According to Gregg, this was the song that convinced his bandmates to join in. It’s also one of the band’s first songs that features insanely long instrumental interludes, setting the stage for many tunes to follow.
6. “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”
This powerful and moving ballad with long instrumental interludes became Allman Brothers’ biggest hit. Betts wrote it for a girl he had an affair with – but no, she wasn’t Elizabeth Reed. Betts pulled out the title of this song from one of the headstones at a cemetery in Georgia, where he would often write.
7. “Ramblin’ Man”
Betts wrote “Ramblin’ Man,” which he described as mostly autobiographical. It tells the story of a man whose journeys brought him to different places – something Betts is familiar with, as his family moved a lot when he was a kid.
The song climbed to the No. 2 spot of Billboard Hot 100, making it the band’s first and only Top 10 single.
Gregg and Duane Allman recorded “Melissa” with one of their earlier groups. They revisited it for their Eat a Peach album, and it grew into one of the band’s most enduring songs.
9. “Midnight Rider”
While the original Allman Brothers’ release of “Midnight Rider” did not chart, it became one of the most covered songs in their catalog. It was a hit for various artists – including Willie Nelson, who took it to the No. 6 spot on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
10. “Statesboro Blues”
Duane Allman showcased his knack for slide guitar in “Statesboro Blues,” which tells the story of a man from Statesboro, Georgia, who is ready to move on with his life – leaving his uncaring woman behind in the process.
The Allman Brothers’ grounding in the blues tradition is evident in their Idlewild South album opener. The acoustic guitar intro and the phrase “Love is everywhere” in the refrain made it into a favorite among hippies in the United States.
12. “It’s Not My Cross to Bear”
Written by Gregg Allman about his then-girlfriend, “It’s Not My Cross to Bear” was released on the band’s debut album – introducing Allman Brothers to the world.
13. “One Way Out”
Though this wasn’t written by any of the Allman Brothers, they turned it into a jam-oriented blend of southern-based rhythms and legendary guitar solos, which was totally a hit to many fans.
14. “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More”
“Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More” was Allman Brothers’ attempt to move forward after Duane’s death, taking it as a lesson to seize what was in front of them rather than staggering in self-pity.
15. “Les Brers in A Minor“
This was among the first tracks the band recorded after Duane’s death. Gregg recalled how they did twenty-nine takes of the song, only to find themselves using the second one.
Check Out Some More of Allman Brothers Songs As They Create Their Own Genre
It was truly heartbreaking when the band announced that they would be wrapping things up for good in 2014. Keep on scrolling below to check out their other hits.
The Allman Brothers Band songs have indeed endured the test of time. How about you? Which ones are your favorites?
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