Dickey Betts, fiery guitarist with the Allman Brothers Band, dies at age 80

Dickey Betts, a honky-tonk hellraiser who, as guitarist for the Allman Brothers Band in the course of the band’s early Seventies heyday, traded fiery licks with Duane Allman and who later wrote a few of the band’s most indelible songs, together with their largest hit, ” Ramblin’ Man,” died Thursday at his house in Osprey, Florida. He was 80 years previous.

His dying was introduced by his household on social media. His supervisor David Spero stated in a press release to Rolling Stone journal that the trigger was most cancers and persistent obstructive pulmonary illness.

Though not an precise Allman brother, the band, shaped in 1969, was led by Duane Allman, who achieved guitar god standing earlier than dying in a bike accident on the age of 24 Gregg Allmanthe lead singer who got here even additional into the limelight together with his marriage to Cher in 1975 – Mr. Betts was a driving drive within the group for many years and central to the sound that, together with the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd, formed Southern rock.

Though Mr. Betts, whose solos at occasions appeared to scorch the fretboard of his Gibson Les Paul, was thought of by some followers to be their “different” guitarist within the band’s early days, he proved a worthy sparring associate for Duane Allman, who served extra as a co-player. Guitarist acted as lead guitarist as an alternative of as sidekick.

Together with his chiseled options, Wild West mustache and gunslinger demeanor, Mr. Betts actually appeared just like the star. And he performed like one. Nowhere was this extra evident than on the band’s groundbreaking 1971 dwell double album, “At Fillmore East,” which was stuffed with expansive jams and showcased the complicated interaction between Mr. Betts and Mr. Allman. Greater than one million copies have been offered.

“The second half of ‘At Fillmore East’ is as vibrant and exhilarating as rock ever recorded earlier than,” wrote Pitchfork’s Grayson Haver Currin in a 2022 assessment.

A centerpiece of the album was “In Reminiscence of Elizabeth Reed,” a haunting, jazz-influenced instrumental by Mr. Betts, whose title was taken from a headstone in a cemetery within the band’s hometown of Macon, Georgia. The “textural interaction” of this monitor,” Mr. Currin continued, “is just like Miles Davis’s then-new electrical bands, organ and guitar melting into one another like melting butter and chocolate.”

“Duane and me had understanding, like an previous soul understanding of “let’s play collectively,” Mr. Betts stated in a 2020 interview with The Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida. “Duane would at all times say, ‘Man, I get so jealous of you typically while you burn out and I’ve to comply with that,’ and we joked about it. In order that’s the connection between Duane and me. It was an actual understanding. Like, ‘Come on, this can be a rattling good band, let’s not mess it up.'”

This good guitar dialogue led to Macon on October 29, 1971, when Mr. Allman misplaced management of his motorbike after overtaking a truck and died from the extreme inner accidents he sustained within the accident (Berry Oakleythe band’s bassist, died a yr later in a bike accident only a few blocks from the positioning.

Mr. Betts took over management of the band and served as guitarist when the Allman Brothers Band regrouped to finish their subsequent album, “Eat a Peach.” It was launched in 1972 to vital acclaim Quantity 4 within the Billboard charts. One of many album’s most memorable tracks was Mr. Betts’ sunny, country-tinged quantity “Blue sky,” which lived on as a rock traditional.

The band reached new business heights with their follow-up the subsequent yr, “Brothers & Sisters,” which featured two of Mr. Betts’ signature songs: “Ramblin’ Man” which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Scorching 100, and the upbeat instrumental “Jessica.”

“Ramblin’ Man,” which Mr. Betts sang, is a light-hearted story of a carefree life on the open street. “I believe the tune is kind of autobiographical” he stated in a 1973 interview with future movie director Cameron Crowe, who was then a author for Rolling Stone. “Not fairly to the purpose, however total it is a fairly true tune. I want I may say quite a lot of issues in my songs that I can’t say.”

He clearly made an impression on Mr. Crowe. His horseshoe mustache and bad-boy swagger grew to become the inspiration for Billy Crudup’s rock star character in Mr. Crowe’s quasi-autobiographical 2000 movie. “Virtually well-known.” As Mr. Crowe advised Rolling Stone in 2017, “Dickey appeared like a quiet man with one enormous quantity of soul, doable hazard and playful recklessness behind his eyes. He was a giant presence.”

Forrest Richard Betts was born on December 12, 1943 in West Palm Seashore, Florida, certainly one of three youngsters of Harold and Sarah Betts. Raised on the Gulf Coast in Bradenton, close to Tampa, He discovered a way of music at an early age from his father, a violinist, and started taking part in the ukulele on the age of 5.

He accomplished his guitar research and shaped his personal band as a youngster. In 1967 he shaped one other band, The Second Coming, with Mr. Oakley. They later jam with Duane Allman, who finally invitations them to hitch his new band.

After the triumph of “Brothers & Sisters,” which was primary Billboard 200 For 5 weeks in 1973, the Allman Brothers Band was floundering. Gregg Allman launched a solo profession, as did Mr. Betts, who launched the album “Freeway Name” in 1974.

Over time, the band’s extreme drug and alcohol use grew to become an growing downside, as did the inner pressures that accompanied success. The band splintered in 1976 after Gregg Allman testified towards the band’s safety guard in a federal drug case; Mr. Betts vowed by no means to work with Mr. Allman once more.

Nonetheless he did it. Though Mr. Betts continued with two facet tasks, the band Nice Southern and the Dickey Betts Band, the Allman Brothers Band launched a comeback album in 1979 entitled “Enlightened Rogues” and continued to tour and document regardless of prolonged breaks till 2000 That yr, the group fired Mr. Betts, citing “Artistic variations” – whereas additionally alluding to ongoing struggles with substance abuse, which he denied.

By then, Mr. Betts had had quite a few struggles with medicine and alcohol and several other arrests, together with a high-profile incident in 1996 during which he was accused of aiming a .44 Magnum handgun at his spouse, Donna. throughout an argument over his drug use and charged with aggravated home violence. The fees have been dropped after he agreed to verify right into a rehabilitation facility.

Along with his spouse, Mr. Betts’ survivors embrace his daughters, nation artists Kimberly Betts, Christy Betts and Jessica Betts, and his son Duane Betts, who carried out with the Allman Brothers Band within the Nineties and later joined Nice South .

Regardless of going by way of it Mind surgical procedure After a fall at house in 2018, Mr. Betts launched dwell albums with the Dickey Betts Band in each 2018 and 2019.

He acquired notable recognition when Bob Dylan talked about him “The Worst Homicide” Mr. Dylan’s 2020 work on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It comprises the road “Play Oscar Peterson, play Stan Getz/Play ‘Blue Sky,’ play Dickey Betts.”

When associates known as him in regards to the shout-out, Mr. Betts felt deeply honored, he stated in a single Present interview, but additionally embarrassed. “I’d say, ‘Properly, he solely used me as a result of it rhymes with Getz.'”

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