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HomeUncategorizedDickey Betts, Allman Brothers Band co-founder, dies at 80

Dickey Betts, Allman Brothers Band co-founder, dies at 80

Dickey Betts, who died Thursday at age 80, actually was born a ramblin’ man.

He left house at 16 to hitch the circus and have become a famend guitarist touring the world with the Allman Brothers Band. He wrote the group’s largest hit, “Ramblin’ Man,” and remained on the highway till he reached the Rock & Roll Corridor of Fame.

Betts died at his house in Osprey, Florida, his supervisor of 20 years, David Spero, mentioned by cellphone. He had been battling most cancers for greater than a 12 months and had continual obstructive pulmonary illness, Spero mentioned.

“He was surrounded by his entire household and he handed peacefully. They didn’t suppose he was in any ache,” he mentioned.

AP correspondent Margie Szaroleta stories on the demise of former Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dickey Betts.

Betts shared lead guitar duties with Duane Allman within the authentic Allman Brothers Band to assist in giving the group its distinctive sound and create a brand new style, Southern rock. The band blended blues, nation, R&B and jazz with ’60s rock to supply a definite sound that influenced a number of main acts, together with Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Prime, Phish, Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton, amongst many others.

“My first live performance was Dickey Betts at Coleman’s in Rome, New York in 1983,” blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa mentioned in an Instagram publish Thursday, crediting Betts with inspiring his favourite electrical guitar mannequin. “Blew my thoughts and made me need a Les Paul.”

Different tributes got here from members of the Allman Brothers Band’s prolonged household.

Guitarist Derek Vehicles and his spouse and bandmate, Susan Tedeschi, posted on their Instagram account that Betts was “one in all greatest to ever do it.”

Vehicles joined the Allman Brothers Band in 1999. His uncle Butch Vehicles was one of many band’s two founding drummers.

Bassist Berry Duane Oakley, son of Allman Brothers founding bassist Berry Oakley, honored his “Uncle Dickey” on Fb, saying: “If not for him, I don’t suppose I’d be a touring musician. The cat within the hat won’t ever be forgotten, and can at all times be honored not just for the great life he lived, however the great music he has left behind for all of us to share and bear in mind.”

Based in 1969, the Allmans have been a pioneering jam band, trampling the normal system of three-minute pop songs by performing prolonged compositions in live performance and on file. The band was additionally notable as a biracial group from the Deep South.

Duane Allman died in a bike accident in 1971, and Berry Oakley was killed in a bike crash the next 12 months. That left Betts and Allman’s youthful brother, Gregg, because the band’s leaders, however they ceaselessly clashed, and substance abuse triggered additional dysfunction. The band broke up at the very least twice earlier than reforming, and has had greater than a dozen lineups.

The Allman Brothers Band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Corridor of Fame in 1995 and earned a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 2012. Betts left the group for good in 2000. He additionally performed solo and along with his personal band Nice Southern, which included his son, guitarist Duane Betts.

FILE – This undated picture exhibits members of the Allman Brothers Band, from left, Dickey Betts, Duane Allman, Berry Oakley, Butch Vehicles, Gregg Allman and Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson, consuming on the H&H Restaurant in downtown Macon, Ga. Guitar legend Betts, who co-founded the Allman Brothers Band and wrote their largest hit, “Ramblin’ Man,” died Thursday, April 18, 2024. He was 80. (The Macon Telegraph through AP, File)

Forrest Richard Betts was born Dec. 12, 1943, and raised within the Bradenton, Florida, space, close to the freeway 41 he sang about in “Ramblin’ Man.” His household had lived in space for the reason that mid-Nineteenth century.

A descendant of Canadian fiddlers, Betts was listening to string bands earlier than he even began faculty. He developed a keenness for nation, bluegrass and Western swing, and performed the ukulele and banjo earlier than specializing in the electrical guitar as a result of it impressed ladies. However he often did his songwriting on an acoustic guitar.

Betts modified faculties actually because his father labored development, and people recollections later impressed him to put in writing “Ramblin’ Man.” His first massive highway journey got here when he joined the circus to play in a band.

He returned house, and with Oakley joined a gaggle that turned the Jacksonville, Florida-based band Second Coming. One evening in 1969, Betts and Oakley jammed with Duane Allman, already a profitable session musician, and his youthful brother. Collectively they fashioned the Allman Brothers Band.

Betts “excelled at something that caught his consideration,” in line with a press release posted Thursday on the Allman Brothers Band’s official web site. “He was passionate in life, be it music, songwriting, fishing, looking, boating, golf, karate or boxing.”

The group moved to Macon, Georgia, and launched a self-titled debut album in 1969. A 12 months later got here the album “Idlewild South,” highlighted by Betts’ instrumental composition “In Reminiscence of Elizabeth Reed,” which quickly turned a live performance favourite.

The 1971 double album “At Fillmore East,” now thought-about among the many best reside albums of the basic rock period, was the Allmans’ industrial breakthrough and cemented their performing fame by showcasing the distinctive guitar interaction between Allman and Betts. Their kinds contrasted, with Allman enjoying bluesy slide guitar, whereas Betts’ solos and singing tugged the band towards nation. When layered in concord, their enjoying was particularly distinctive.

The group additionally had two drummers — Butch Vehicles and John Lee “Jaimoe” Johanson, a Black musician from Mississippi who helped combine Southern rock.

Duane Allman died 4 days after “Fillmore” was licensed as a gold file, however the band carried on and crowds continued to develop. The 1973 album “Brothers and Sisters” rose to No. 1 on the charts and featured “Ramblin’ Man,” with Betts singing the lead and bringing twang to the Prime 40. The track’s intro instructed a fiddle tune, whereas the coda was impressed by Derek and the Dominos’ “Layla,” an earlier hit that had featured Duane Allman.

“Ramblin’ Man” reached No. 2 on the singles charts and was stored out of the No. 1 spot by “Half Breed” by Cher, who later married Gregg Allman. Betts’ composition turned a classic-rock normal, along with his hovering guitar reverberating in neighborhood bars across the nation for many years.

“Ramblin’ Man” was the Allmans’ solely Prime Ten hit, however Betts’ catchy 7 ½-minute instrumental composition “Jessica,” recorded in 1972, additionally confirmed his knack for melodic hooks and have become an FM radio staple. Painstaking in his method to songwriting, Betts spent two months composing “Jessica,” which was impressed by the music of jazz guitar nice Django Reinhardt.

Betts additionally wrote or co-wrote a number of the Allmans’ different best-loved songs, together with “Blue Sky” and “Southbound.”

Dormant for many of the Nineteen Eighties, the Allman Brothers Band launched a comeback in 1990 with Warren Haynes becoming a member of Betts on guitar.

Betts recorded three extra studio albums and toured with the band over the following decade, however he had an acrimonious cut up from the Allman Brothers in 2000. His bandmates suspended the guitarist from their summer time tour and issued a press release blaming “inventive variations.”

Betts mentioned Gregg Allman and the opposite members delivered the information in a fax implying he wanted therapy for substance abuse. Betts took authorized motion and settled with the band in arbitration. The breakup was everlasting. Gregg Allman and Butch Vehicles died in 2017.

After leaving the Allmans for good, Betts continued to play along with his personal group and lived within the Bradenton space along with his spouse, Donna.


This story has been up to date to appropriate the spelling of Dickey Betts’ identify. It’s Dickey Betts, not Dickie Betts.

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