Famous Guitarist Dies – 10/29/1971

US History |

When a person dies after living a long and fruitful life, the loss is still a painful one to all who knew the individual. When it is someone whose life was cut short, the death seems unheard of especially when the individual had so much to live for. 

This was the case of the famous musician Duane Allman, the slide guitarist leader for the group known as the Allman Brothers, who tragically died on October 29th, 1971 due to a motor vehicle accident; he was only 24 years old. The incident occurred while he was riding his motorcycle in Macon, Georgia and ended up hitting the side of a flatbed truck. Although something like this could cause a band to go their separate ways, the Allman Brothers band decided to continue on without him. They continued to make records and perform on tour even to this day and in 2004, Rolling Stone said that the band was the 52nd greatest rock group of all time!

Before the Allman Brothers band was formed, Duane was born in Nashville but was raised in Florida. He began creating a career in music as a session musician in Muscle Shoals, Georgia for Atlantic Records at Fame Studios. He came into contact and performed with now famous artists such as Aretha Franklin, Boz Scaggs, King Curtis and others. This would later lead to the formation of the Allman Brothers band in 1969 with his brother Gregg who was a keyboard player and singer. Moving to Macon, the band made a couple of promising albums and the popular live album “At Fillmore East” in the 1970s in which a large majority of listeners felt that it is one of the best made regarding concert recordings. Unfortunately, Duane died before the band could release the studio record “Eat a Peach” that would end up making the Billboard’s #4 album sales chart!

During the day of his death, Duane was going fast on Hillcrest Avenue while riding his Harley-Davidson Sportster when he reduced speed in order to allow a flatbed truck transporting a big crane boom make a turn in front of him. He attempted to maneuver to the middle of the road in an attempt to move around the truck; however, the truck suddenly the truck stopped while Duane was in the middle of turning. As a result, he had no choice but to hit it head on and the heavy ball on the crane knocked him off his motorcycle. Allman was launched into the air and back to the ground where he eventually stopped skidding along a curb. Although the musician had no visible injuries other than some scrapes and bumps, he passed away during surgery that evening.

Ironically, the Allman Brothers Band bassist passed away roughly one year later almost in the same fashion several blocks away as he was driving fast on his Triumph but went into the side of a city bus.

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