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Dickey Betts, founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, has died : NPR


Guitarist, singer and songwriter Dickey Betts was a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band. He is pictured on Might 19, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn.

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Guitarist, singer and songwriter Dickey Betts was a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band. He is pictured on Might 19, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn.

Rick Diamond/Getty Pictures for Webster PR

Dickey Betts, a founding member of the famend rock group the Allman Brothers Band, died at at his house in Osprey, Fla. on Thursday. The influential guitarist, songwriter and vocalist had been battling two sorts of most cancers in addition to continual obstructive pulmonary illness (COPD). He was 80 years previous.

The information was shared on Betts’ official web site in a press release by his household.

“Dickey was bigger than life, and his loss will likely be felt world-wide,” the assertion mentioned.

Betts’ blues, rock and country-influenced guitar type helped outline Southern rock within the Nineteen Sixties and ’70s.

“Dickey was some of the distinctive guitar stylists within the phrase, and also you knew it was him whenever you heard him on report or reside,” mentioned longtime Allman Brothers member Chuck Leavell, who at present serves because the Rolling Stones’ music director/keyboard participant, in a press release shared with NPR. “He leaves an everlasting and enviable legacy that we are going to all be celebrating for eternity.”

Betts was finest identified for the track “Ramblin’ Man.” The Allman Brothers Band was initially reluctant to report the track, which Betts wrote and sang, as a result of they thought it sounded an excessive amount of like a rustic track.

Launched in 1973, “Ramblin’ Man” went on to develop into the band’s first and solely prime 10 single on the Billboard Scorching 100 chart.

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The lean, mustachioed guitarist lower such an iconic determine that director Cameron Crowe primarily based the rock star hero of his 2000 film Nearly Well-known on him. The character within the movie was performed by Billy Crudup.

“Crudup’s look, and far more, is a tribute to Dickey,” Crowe mentioned in a 2017 interview for Rolling Stone journal. “Dickey appeared like a quiet man with an enormous quantity of soul, potential hazard and playful recklessness behind his eyes. He was an enormous presence.”

Forrest Richard “Dickey” Betts was born in 1943 in West Palm Seaside, Fla. He got here from a musical household and began out enjoying ukulele at 5 years previous, earlier than selecting up the mandolin, banjo and guitar. He started performing in rock bands round Florida — which remained his lifelong house state — and joined the Allman Brothers Band at its inception in 1969.

The Allman Brothers band carry out in 1972 in entrance of a tv viewers. Chuck Leavell, keys, left; Jamoie Johanson, drums; Dickey Betts, lead and slide guitar; Berry Oakley, bass; Butch Vehicles, drums and percussion.

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The Allman Brothers band carry out in 1972 in entrance of a tv viewers. Chuck Leavell, keys, left; Jamoie Johanson, drums; Dickey Betts, lead and slide guitar; Berry Oakley, bass; Butch Vehicles, drums and percussion.

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Betts began out enjoying co-lead guitar with Duane Allman (one of many two brothers after which the band took its title). He pushed rock guitar improvisation into new territory — the guitarist’s spiraling sound is completely captured within the observe “In Reminiscence of Elizabeth Reed” on the Allman Brothers’ 1971 At Fillmore East album. Betts additionally made his title as a songwriter with songs like “Jessica” and “Blue Sky.”

After Duane Allman’s loss of life in a motorbike accident in 1971, Betts turned The Allman Brothers Band’s sole guitarist and lead singer. He had a checkered relationship with the group through the years, taking breaks to carry out with different ensembles and work on solo tasks. However Betts wasn’t in a position to replicate the success he had with The Allman Brothers Band when he struck out on his personal.

Recognized for his arduous dwelling methods, Betts earned a status for trashing resort rooms and taking swings at cops.

But based on his longtime supervisor, David Spero, Betts was additionally an incredible mensch.

“He was such a giving man,” Spero mentioned in an interview with NPR. “He took time together with his followers. He’d signal something. He posed for each image.”

The musician’s generosity was additionally highlighted in a 2005 interview for WHYY’s Recent Air, when nation music star Billy Joe Shaver described how Betts helped kickstart the music profession of Shaver’s son Eddy Shaver by noticing his expertise and even passing alongside prize guitars.

“Dickey Betts gave [Eddy Shaver] his 335 that belonged to Duane Allman and a ’55 Strat when he was 13 years previous,” Shaver mentioned. “And Dickey had acknowledged faster than I did how a lot expertise he had.”

Story edited by Jennifer Vanasco.



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