Saturday, October 29, 2011

40 years ago today: Duane Allman killed

Just months after the release of the live At Fillmore East album, slide guitarist extraordinaire Duane Allman, 24, was killed in a motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia.
    He was speeding on a flat stretch of road 40 years ago today when a flatbed truck began making a left hand turn in front of him. For some reason the truck stopped mid-turn, blocking the entire lane. Duane tried to finesse his way past the truck but didn't make it. The impact sent Duane flying off the bike. His helmet was sent spinning. The bike landed on Duane. Its motor still revving.
   Duane looked OK. Just some scratches. But he suffered massive internal injuries and died three hours later in surgery.
 Almost exactly a year later Allman Brothers bassist Berry Oakley died when his motorcycle crashed into a bus.
The essential Duane Allman can be heard not just on the first Allman Brothers recordings but on Derek and The Domino's Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs and on R&B tracks like Wilson Pickett's cover of "Hey Jude". That's the cut that drew Clapton's interest:

I remember hearing Wilson Pickett's "Hey Jude" and just being astounded by the lead break at the end. I had to know who that was immediately--right now."
-Eric Clapton

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