There are certain rock stars that are just hard to write about for obvious sentimental reasons. Gregg Allman is one of them. It hurt real bad for all of us when he passed away a few years ago. Hs voice, his songs, his persona were such a big part of our daily lives growing up in the second half of the 20th century and into the 21st. From the late 1960s into the 2010s the Allman Brothers Band brought us great joy. While the group clearly inspired so many bands, there will never be a group like The Allman Brothers Band. No one can replace those golden soulful vocal chords of Gregg Allman. Even though Gregg Allman celebrated great success as a musician and a songwriter, the man led a tough life. Any one who loses there brother or any other close family member early on in life has to endure a pain for the rest of their live that never goes away. Of course you live with it, but it does take its toll. You could hear that pain in every vocal Gregg Allman laid down. Yet there was also a celebration of life that came through in his music. No one understands the gift of life more than one who sees it end so tragically before their eyes.
Our Top 10 Gregg Allman songs list is a celebration of the life of Gregg Allman. It’s just a small sampling of some of our favorite Gregg Allman recordings that were released on his solo albums. The list does not contain any Gregg Allman songs that were released on Allman Brothers Band albums unless they were also released on a Gregg Allman solo album. Gregg Allman released two complete solo albums in the 1970s. His first solo album was released in 1973 entitled Laid Back. His second was released in 1977 called Playing Up A Storm. That same year he also released an album with his wife who we all know as Cher. The album was titled Two The Hard Way.
After the last Allman Brother Band album was released in 1982, Gregg Allman and The Allman Brothers band disappeared for a while. In 1987, Gregg Allman made a comeback in 1987 with the release of his grand album I’m No Angel. That return was quickly followed up a year later with the album Just Before The Bullets Fly in 1988. With the return of the Allman Brothers Band in 1990, Gregg Allman solo albums were put on hold for some time. The Allman Brothers Band would release four more studio albums over the years starting in 1990 with Seven Turns, followed by Shades of Two Worlds in 1991, Where It All Began in 1994 and Hittin’ the Note in 2003. These turned out to be some of the best Allman Brothers Band albums ever released.
In 1997, Gregg Allman released another solo album entitled Searching for Simplicity. It would be another fourteen years until he released his next solo album in 2011 entitled Low Country Blues. Gregg Allman’s final solo album entitled Southern Blood was released sadly a few months after his passing in 2017. The top ten Gregg Allman songs for his solo albums list defines a celebration of one of the greatest rock and roll voices to ever grace the concert stage.
# 10 – Floating Bridge
We start out this Gregg Allman songs list with the opening track from his gritty album Low Country Blues. The album was released in 2011. The song “Floating Bridge,” was the album’s opening cut. The song was written by a blues musician named John Adam Estes who was also know as Sleepy John Estes and was the son of a sharecropper. The guitar riff and bass part chug along with Dr John’s piano surrounding Gregg Allman’s vocal in a spiritual dark deep country blues chant that just sounds so timeless.
# 9 – My Only True Friend
Gregg Allman’s “My Only True Friend,” was a song he composed for his last album Southern Blood that plays like a farewell. Its a tough listen as the lyrics resonate deeply. It is the only original song on the album. Gregg Allman’s original intention was to release an album of all new material. However his battle with liver cancer made him to sick to compose new material and the album became a record of covers songs.
# 8 – The Dark End of the Street
Continuing with our top 10 Gregg Allman Songs from his solo albums list we turn to Gregg Allman’s album Searching for Simplicity. The album was released in 1997. The album consisted of cover songs, originals and a remake of the Allman Brothers Band song “Whipping Post.” We chose Gregg Allman’s amazing heartfelt cover version of the great song “The Dark End of the Street,” to be placed on this list because it is just so outstanding. Gregg Allman recorded the song because it was his brother Duane Allman’s favorite song.
# 7 – Come And Go Blues
” Cone and Go Blues,” is one of Gregg Allman’s most popular solo songs. The song was released on Gregg Allman’s second solo album entitled Playin’ Up a Storm. The album was released under the name The Gregg Allman Band. Sone of Gregg Allman’s solo albums were released just under his name while others were released under The Gregg Allman Band name. His group on the album consisted of Willie Weeks on bass, Steve Beckmeier on guitar, Ricky Hirsch on guitar and slide guitar, John Leslie Hug on guitar, Neil Larsen on all keys not played by Gregg Allman and Bill Stewart on drums.
# 6 – Slip Away
Gregg Allman’s great version of Clarence Carter’s “Slip Away,” was released on his 1988 album Just Before The Bullets Fly. The album was also released under the name The Gregg Allman Band. This was a completely different Gregg Allman Band than the one that had recorded and toured with Gregg Allman back in 1977 on the album Playing Up A Storm. On the album Just Before The Bullets Fly, the band consisted of Dan Toler on guitar, David Toler on drums, Bruce Waibel on bass, Tim Heding on keys and Chaz Trippy on percussion.
# 5 – I’ll Be Holding On
This one is sort of an outlier on this Gregg Allman solo songs list. The song “I’ll Be Holding On,” was released on the soundtrack to the 1989 movie Black Rain. This was a great motion picture featuring Michael Douglas and directed by the legendary Ridley Scott. The song “I’ll Be Holding On,” was written by Hans Zimmer and Will Jennings.
# 4 – Demons
“Demons,” is the second song to appear on this Top 10 Gregg Allman songs list from the album Just Before The Bullets Fly. The song was written by Gregg Allman and longtime Gregg Allman Band members Dan and David Toler. Dan Toler was also a member of The Allman Brothers Band during their late 1970s, early 80s period appearing on the Allman Brother Band albums Enlightened Rogues, Reach for the Sky and Brothers of the Road. Dan Toler was also a member of Dickey Betts Band Great Southern in the 1970s. The song “Demons,” defines how brilliant and electrifying a guitarist Dan Toler was and how well Gregg Allman and the Toler brothers worked together. One of the definite highlights of Gregg Allman’s solo career.
# 3 – Just Another Rider
Once again, we turn back to the low down blues album Low Country Blues. The song “Just Another Rider,” was written by Gregg Allman and Warren Haynes. It was the album’s only original song as the rest of the record was filled with cover version of blues classic. It’s fitting that the original song was written by Gregg Allman and the great Warren Haynes. The Allman Brothers Band lead guitarist played such a pivotal role in the return of The Allman Brothers Band in 1990.
# 2 – I’m No Angel
Gregg Allman’s hit single “I’m No Angel,” defined a pivotal turning point in Gregg Allman’s career. It had been about six years since the final Allman Brothers Band album entitled Brothers of the Road had been released in 1981. At least at the time it was thought of as the final Allman Brothers Band album. It also had been ten years since Gregg Allman had released a solo album with his last being released in 1977. Most Allman Brothers Band fans at the time had thought they had heard the last of Gregg Allman and the Allman Brothers Band. They had pretty much disappeared from the music scene.
Turn to 1987 when all of a sudden this incredibly addictive fresh sounding Gregg Allman song starts getting airplay on the radio. We all went crazy over it. It was a little slick, but so what, it was a fantastic song and Allman’s vocals was killer. There was a bit of a Bruce Springsteen / Bob Seger vibe to it, but for many that was good thing. It was great to hear the sound of Gregg Allman’s voice again singing new material. This was a great songs and it wound up being commercially very successful. The song’s success fueled sales of his new album and helped a younger audience discover Gregg Allman for the first time. That discovery led the way to new fans learning about the Allman Brothers Band and at the same time created a yearning by older fans for some new Allman Brothers Band music and calls for the band to reunite. After another solo album, all those fan wished came through as The Allman Brothers Band reunited with some fresh blood in the name of Warren Haynes and Alan Woody in 1990 for what we could become another 17 year run. And it all started with the success of “I’m No Angel.”
# 1 – Midnight Rider
At number one on this Gregg Allman songs list is the classic Gregg Allman penned song “Midnight Rider.” Yes we know that this is thought of as an Allman Brothers Band song since it was released on the Allman Brothers Band second album entitled Idlewild South in 1970. “Midnight Rider,” would also become one of the band’s most played songs in concert over the years. However, the song was also released in a very different version by Gregg Allman on his solo album entitled Laid Back in 1973. Whether one prefers the Allman Brothers Band version or the Gregg Allman solo album version, the fact is Gregg Allman version had much greatest success on the charts than his Allman Brothers Band version. Gregg Allman’s solo version broke the Billboard’s Hot 100 top 20 in 1973. The Allman Brothers Band version did not even chart. Does it matter? Of course not. But, on a list of the best Gregg Allman songs from his solo albums, this one wins easily.
Top 10 Gregg Allman Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2020
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