Dickey Betts, Allman Brothers Band Singer-Guitarist, Ineffective at 80

Dickey Betts, Allman Brothers Band Singer-Guitarist, Ineffective at 80

The co-founding father of the Southern rock institution became identified for “Ramblin’ Man,” a countryfied guitar type all his admire, and sharp a persona in Nearly Well-known

Dickey Betts, the singer, songwriter, and guitarist of the Allman Brothers Band whose piercing solos, beloved songs and hell-raising spirit outlined the band and Southern rock in normal, died Thursday morning at the age of 80. The trigger became cancer and power obstructive pulmonary illness, Betts’ manager David Spero confirmed to Rolling Stone.

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“It is far with profound disappointment and heavy hearts that the Betts family tell the composed passing of Forrest Richard ‘Dickey’ Betts (December 12, 1943 – April 18, 2024) at the age of 80 years aged,” Betts’ family equipped in an announcement to Rolling Stone. “The legendary performer, songwriter, bandleader, and family patriarch became at his dwelling in Osprey, Florida, surrounded by his family. Dickey became better-than-life, and his loss will be felt worldwide. At this advanced time, the family asks for prayers and admire for their privateness within the arriving days. Extra data will be approaching at the true time.”

“His unheard of guitar taking part in alongside guitarist Duane Allman created a determined dual guitar signature sound that grew to alter into the signature sound of the sort identified as Southern Rock,” the band wrote in an announcement. “He became passionate in life, be it music, songwriting, fishing, hunting, boating, golf, karate, or boxing. Dickey became all in on and excelled at anything else that caught his consideration.”

Although he became progressively overshadowed by Gregg and Duane, the brothers who gave the Allmans their name, Betts became equally needed to the band. His sweetly sinuous guitar type equipped aspects of Western swing and jazz into the band’s music, particularly when he became duetting with Duane. As a singer and author, Betts became to blame for the band’s excellent hit, 1973’s “Ramblin’ Man,” besides to a pair of their most recognizable songs: the moody instrumental “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” the delighted “Jessica,” and their behind-interval comeback hit “Loopy Bask in.”

From his trademark mustache to his badass demeanor, Betts became so iconic that he inspired the persona of Russell (played by Billy Crudup) in Cameron Crowe’s Nearly Well-known. “Goddamn, that guy looks like me!” Betts told Rolling Stone of his first response to the movie. “I didn’t attain the jumping off the roof or the ‘golden god,’ nonetheless I knew Cameron.”

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Born Forrest Richard Betts in West Palm Seaside, Florida, on December 12, 1943, Betts began taking part in ukulele spherical age five, followed by banjo and mandolin. “After I at final obtained to about seventh grade,” he told RS, “I realized about girls and rock & roll and Chuck Berry.” As a teen, he assign collectively his admire band whereas incomes a living as a home painter and mail provider.

In the mid-Sixties, a member of a Midwestern band named the Jokers heard Betts and recruited him for out-of-train tours. Serve dwelling in Florida later that decade, Betts fashioned the Second Coming, a band that also included bass player Berry Oakley. The two ended up meeting and jamming with Duane Allman, who asked both to affix the newly fashioned Allman Brothers Band in 1969. “It took rather about a talking and getting along,” Betts told Rolling Stone in 2017, “nonetheless we all knew this became one thing we had heard in our heads for a actually very lengthy time. We had to talk Duane into calling Gregg because they were having a brotherly combat, and Duane didn’t desire Gregg. Oakley and I said, ‘Come on, Duane, the band is too goddamn powerful. We need Gregg’s declare in there.’”

Although his preliminary position within the band became co-lead guitarist along with Duane, Betts made his model as a author thanks to his exuberant “Revival” on the band’s 2nd album, Idlewild South. At some level of the band’s first few years, he and Duane took rock-guitar improvisation and two-guitar dueling to new heights, as heard on the 13-minute model of “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” on the band’s At Fillmore East are living album from 1971. Valid earlier than Duane Allman’s dying, the band recorded Betts’ “Blue Sky,” a nation-influenced dawdle inspired by his first accomplice, who’s Native American; the music that grew to alter into one in every of the band’s signature songs.

After Duane Allman’s dying in a bike accident in 1971, Betts grew to alter into the band’s de facto lead guitarist and frontman, a position he wasn’t continuously ok with. That includes both “Ramblin’ Man” and “Jessica” — the latter named after Betts’ daughter — the band’s 1973 album, Brothers and Sisters, album crossed over into pop. Betts’ 1974 solo album, Motorway Call — one in every of the most straightforward of the Allmans offshoot projects — integrated nation, jazz, bluegrass, and gospel.

The bond between the Allmans and Jimmy Carter, whose 1976 presidential campaign they supported by advance of again concerts, also applied to Betts personally. “I endure in thoughts going to a jazz dwell efficiency at the White Rental [1978],” Betts told Rolling Stone final yr. “For sure, I obtained there and I left my damn ID at dwelling. Nonetheless the Marines said, ‘Oh, dawdle forward in.’ They knew me very properly and knew I wasn’t going to attain any harm. Jimmy became walking spherical the premises and any individual said to me, ‘Fade over and talk to him,’ nonetheless I didn’t desire to danger him. Then I went to make exhaust of the males’s room within the White Rental, and as I became popping out, I bumped into Jimmy with a neighborhood of people and he said, ‘Ladies and gents, here is Dickey Betts, one in every of the most straightforward songwriters spherical this demonstrate day.’ That appropriate form floored me.”

Nonetheless after Gregg testified in a drug trial moving a band employee, which infuriated Betts, the Allman Brothers Band fell apart for the first time. Betts recorded two albums along with his admire band, Large Southern, which didn’t replicate his Allmans success. In 1979, the Allman Brothers regrouped, broke up again about a years later, and reunited again in 1989.

In the Nineties, the Allmans experienced a musical and profession rebirth, and Betts grew to alter into its driver particularly after Gregg relapsed within the route of the decade. Nonetheless Betts also will most seemingly be moody and unstable; in 1976, he became arrested for ingesting and clashing with police. That facet of him resumed; in 1993, he became arrested in Saratoga Springs, Unusual York, after coming into into a shoving match with police officers, and his ingesting ended in fights with band members and uncared for reveals. In 2000, he parted programs with the Allmans. Betts continuously insisted he became fired, whereas drummer John Lee “Jaimoe” Johnson told Rolling Stone in 2017 that Betts stop. “Dickey became continuously form of the guy who became — I don’t desire to deliver panicked, nonetheless became extra of a loner,” Allmans manager Bert Holman told RS in 2017. “Extra separate than the the leisure of the guys.”

Although his falling out with the Allmans left a bitter taste in his mouth for years, Betts told RS that, within the stop, he regarded aid fondly on his decades with them. “I would’ve carried out one thing,” he said. “I would accept as true with labored for any individual landscaping. I became very pragmatic and industrious. Nonetheless it indubitably wouldn’t were as good as what came about when I met up with that bunch of guys.”

For plenty of the 2000s, Betts tried kick-starting his admire profession and music, although he became overshadowed again by the Allman Brothers Band, who persevered without him (with guitarist Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks). In 2014, Betts quietly equipped his retirement and told Rolling Stone in 2017 that he decided to forestall recording music.


Despite the turbulence at some stage within the Allman Brothers Band, Betts said he and Gregg had spoken appropriate earlier than Allman’s dying, in 2017. After Allman’s dying — and after Betts talked about retirement — he became coaxed into returning to the avenue in 2018, along with his admire son (also named Duane) becoming a member of his band. In August of that yr, although, Betts suffered after which recovered from a composed stroke. Closing December, Betts attended an Eightieth-birthday dwell efficiency in his honor by the Allman Betts Household Revival band, advance Betts’ longtime Florida dwelling.

In 2017, Betts regarded aid at his life and not using a regrets, telling Rolling Stone: “I’ve had a colossal life and I don’t accept as true with any complaints,” he says. “If I could per chance presumably attain it again, I don’t know what I could per chance presumably attain to invent it totally different. There are lawsuits I presumably might per chance presumably accept as true with dealt with better. Nonetheless so what? It be fundamental to safe in there and combat and fasten the most straightforward with your quantity of time.”


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