Top 10 Allman Brothers Band Songs

Allman Brothers Band Songs

Photo: By Jonathan Bayer [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

On October 28th 2014, the Allman Brothers Band supposedly performed their final concert at New York’s Beacon Theater. The final show ended a forty five year run that had begun in 1969 with the release of the Allman Brothers Band’s first album entitled simply The Allman Brothers Band. Since the death of Duane Allman early in the group’s career, the band has gone through various lineup changes and several periods of inactivity. This Top 10 Allman Brothers Band Songs list focuses on the two most prolific periods of the band’s career. The late 1960’s early 1970’s period presented fans with the majority of Allman Brothers Songs that have formed their core identity. However a series of albums released in the early 1990’s also provided the rock and roll world with another round of spectacular new material from the band. Their comeback in 1990 was fueled by the addition of Warren Haynes on guitar and Allan Woody on bass.

In the early 2000’s another dynamic guitarist named Derek Trucks joined the band elevating the sound of the Allman Brothers to heights that had been unimaginable during their late 70’s early and 1980’s period. The interplay between Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes throughout the 2000’s framed the sound of the band that still featured original lead singer, keyboardist and bandleader Gregg Allman. Without Gregg Allman, there is no Allman Brothers. (Editor’s note: This article was originally written before the passing of Gregg Allman)

The band had continued after the loss of Duane Allman and they moved forward after parting ways with Dickey Betts. However, they never would have succeeded without Gregg Allman. Nonetheless, the band’s final shows have left Allman Brother fans yearning for another reunion, or at least one more show. Until that time, all we can do is still enjoy the legacy of music the band has left behind. Below is a list of what we feel are 10 of their greatest recordings. There are so many more than just 10, but picking only 10 is what makes this so much fun.

Top 10 Allman Brothers Band Songs.

# 10 – Don’t Want You No More/It’s Not My Cross to Bear

It just seems right to start of the list of top 10 Allman Brothers Band Songs with the opening song from their first album. The two for one combination that opened the album was a welcome introduction to the sound of the Allman Brothers Band. The instrumental “Don’t Want You No More,” which had been written by Spencer Davis featured the dual guitar play of Dickey Betts and Duane Allman . The interaction between Dickey Betts and Duane Allman would formulate the signature sound of the band that fans quickly fell in love with. The song’s segue into the slow blues Gregg Allman penned “It’s Not My Cross To Bear,” would introduce to the world the golden voice of Greg Allman.

# 9 – Melissa

The Allman Brothers Band song “Melissa,” was released on their third album entitled Eat a Peach. It is one of the few ballads in the Allman Brothers Band catalog, and the only one on the top 10 Allman Brothers Band Songs list. The song was written by Gregg Allman in the late 1960’s but did not surface until it was released on the Eat a Peach album in 1972. It was also issued as the B side to the “Blue Sky,” single.”

The song was often performed in a short acoustic set in the middle of Allman Brothers Band concerts. In the 1990’s, the band often performed “Melissa,” with “Seven Turns,” as Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Warren Haynes and Allan Woody would sit center stage playing the songs on acoustic guitars and bass.

# 8 – Rockin’ Horse

In 2003, The Allman Brothers Band released a remarkable album entitled Hittin’ the Note. The album received rave reviews from various rock critics. This writer believed it was the best work the Allman Brothers Band had released since Eat A Peach. Gregg Allman himself, had stated in interviews that he thought the record was the best work the band had done since the early group in the 1970s. There are so many great songs on the album that could find their way into the Top 10 Allman Brothers Songs list. However, because of the substantial material the band has recorded in their career, there was only room for one song on this list.

For This Top 10 Allman Brothers songs list we have chosen the song “Rockin’ Horse.” to represent the great 2003 album. Just take a listen and you will know why this song has been included. The song had been originally released in 1995 on Warren Haynes and Allan Woody’s debut Gov’t Mule album. It was a great recording, but the Allman Brothers Band version took it somewhere else.

# 7 – Rambling Man

Many top 10 Allman Brothers Band Songs list have “Rambling Man,” at the top. “Rambling Man,” was a huge hit for the band. It was their breakout song that introduced the band to a mass audience because of its radio friendly hook. The song is a rock and roll masterpiece as its so well written and performed. It’s too bad that radio in the 2000’s is not filled with such great songs like “Rambling Man.” However, the song only represented a small part of the Allman Brothers Band sound.

Ask a hardcore Allman Brothers Band fan what their favorite Allman Brothers Band song is, and it’s just about guaranteed they will not say “Rambling Man.” Yet, the song was so important to the band’s success in gaining popularity, that we deemed it as one of their 10 best. We think we found the perfect slot for it here at No. 7 on the Top 10 Allman Brothers Band Songs List.

# 6 – Jessica

One of the greatest contributions the Allman Brothers Band has given to rock and roll was their spectacular instrumental recordings. “Jessica,” was not only one of the greatest Allman Brothers Band instrumentals, it was probably responsible for a large percentage  of young female babies born in the seventies and eighties named “Jessica.” The song was released on their fourth album entitled Brothers and Sisters. The song was released as a single in 1973. It was the follow up single to “Ramblin’ Man.” Jessica was written by Allman Brothers Band lead guitarist Dickey Betts. The song also featured guitarist Les Dudek on acoustic guitar.

# 5 – Nobody Knows

The song “Nobody Knows,” is the second recording to appear on the Top 10 Allman Brothers Band Songs list that was not recorded in the early 1970’s during the original classic Allman Brothers Band period. The song “Nobody Knows,” was issued on the Shades of Two Worlds album. The Shades of Two Worlds album was the follow up to Seven Turns which had served as the first album the band had recorded in over ten years.

While Seven Turns was a welcome return by the band, the Shades of Two Worlds LP defined that the band was more interested in continuing as a creative force rather than just as a reunion act. Warren Haynes continued to breath new life into the band. Dickey Betts proved that he was still capable of writing great southern blues rock music. And Greg Allman sounded just as good in 1993 as he did in 1973. If you have never heard this album, you must take a listen. “Nobody Knows,” is a great place to start, as it is one of the best Allman Brothers Band Songs to have been released during the second half of the band’s career.

# 4 – Blue Sky

If you have ever been to an Allman Brothers Band concert, you would have definitely heard the calls for Dickey Betts classic song “Blue Sky.” The song is clearly one of the most loved songs in the band’s catalog. Fans would agree that listening to “Blue Sky,” simply brings you back to good times and sunny days. The song just makes you feel good. Its as simple as that. Dickey Betts wrote the song for the classic Eat A Peach album.  The recording of “Blue Sky,” featured one of the final performances of slide guitarist Duane Allman .

# 3- One Way Out

The final three songs on the Top 10 Allman Brothers Band Songs List can all be claimed as the ultimate representations of the sound and importance of the Allman Brothers Band legacy. On any given day it could be argued that any of the final three songs should be considered their best work. So let’s start off the final three by taking a listen to one of their greatest recordings. The song “One Way Out,” was originally released on their legendary  Eat A Peach album. The song was written by Elmore James Marshall Sehorn, and Sonny Boy Williamson II. However, the Allman Brothers Band took the original  blues arrangement and turned it into a jam oriented fusion of southern based rhythms and iconic guitar solos.

# 2 – In Memory of Elizabeth Reed

Many rock critics have hailed the recording of “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,”as the greatest rock instrumental of all time. Without a doubt it is simply the most important Allman Brothers Band instrumental of their career. The song served as the cornerstone of their Live At The Fillmore East LP which was released in 1973. The classic instrumental was also written once again by Dickey Betts who has penned so many of the brilliant Allman Brothers Band recordings. The song filled up almost an entire vinyl record side as it clocked in at over thirteen minutes.

# 1 – Whipping Post

The classic Allman Brothers Band Song, “Whipping Post,” has been the band’s most popular choice as a show closer throughout the groups illustrious career. No one understand the significance of a song more than the band itself. It is very telling when a band chooses a particular song to close their shows on a consistent basis. The song “Whipping Post,” was originally released on their debut album, The Allman Brothers Band released on November 4th 1969. The song closed out the record appearing as the last track on side two. Berry Oakley’s opening bass line has become one of  the most famous bass lines ever played in rock and roll history.

The song had one of the most unusual time signatures in music in which the band played in 11/4 time. Perhaps what made the song so special was the pulse of the song that led to a climactic build up capped by the memorable line “Good Lord, I feel Like I’m Dying,” No one could ever sing those words like Gregg Allman. Furthermore, no band has ever come close to producing the blues southern rock sound that The Allman Brothers Band utilized in such a unique yet authentic fashion. There have been many great southern rock bands, but the Allman Brothers Band were on a whole other level.


One Response

  1. Tom Neokleous January 19, 2016

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