Sadly, Southern rock pioneer Gregg Allman passed away yesterday after battling liver cancer, according to TMZ. The multiple Grammy award winner led the Allman Brothers Band for 45 years (his brother Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident in 1971) and survived the death of his sibling and another bandmate, alcohol and drug addiction, and being married to Cher to become an elder statesman of rock.
Wikipedia tells us that Gregg was born on December 8, 1947 and grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. He and brother Duane formed the Allman Joys (I see you, Gregg!) in the mid-60s. They relocated to Los Angeles in 1967, where they renamed themselves Hour Glass. Eventually, they ended up in Macon, Georgia where they settled and became the Allman Brothers Band in 1969.
Their breakthrough album was Live at the Filmore East, which they released in 1971. Shortly after was when Duane was killed. And the year after THAT, bassist Berry Oakley was also killed motorcycle accident. Gregg then became the sole leader of the band. The first incarnation of the group broke up in 1975, and Gregg began a successful solo career. The band reformed in 1989 and continued performing until 2014. Gregg’s credentials as a blues rock god were numerous. Wikipedia also says:
For his work in music, Allman was referred to as a Southern rock pioneer and received numerous awards, including several Grammys; he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. His distinctive voice placed him in 70th place in the Rolling Stone list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”. Allman released an autobiography, My Cross to Bear, in 2012.
Now, back to Cher. People posted her tribute to Gregg on Twitter yesterday.
WORDS ARE IMPOSSIBLE GUI GUI💔
— Cher (@cher) May 27, 2017
Cher and Gregg were tabloid favorites in the 70s. They were married in July of 1975 just one day after Cher’s divorce with Sonny was finalized. People also reports that Cher, who was 29 at that point, filed to dissolve her marriage with Gregg, then 27, nine days later. Gregg convinced her to come back to him a month later, and they tried to make a go of it. They had a son together, Elijah Blue, and even released an album (Two The Hard Way) as Allman and Woman. Did she not want to put her name on it or was it some sort of pre-feminism “I defer to my husband” move on her part?
Cher and Gregg split for good in 1977, but she obviously remained very fond of him. 2017 hasn’t quite matched 2016 for stealing celebrities into the hereafter, but it’s getting up there.