Goodbye to Dickey Betts, co-founder of the Allman Brothers Band

Goodbye to Dickey Betts, co-founder of the Allman Brothers Band

Dickey Betts (Forrest Richard Betts) in 1969 he was together with Duane Allman in the group of founding musicians of Allman Brothers Band. Immediately after the three-hour jam session that gave birth to the band, Gregg Allman also joined on vocals and keyboards.

The band's historic lineup of Gregg Allman (vocals, keyboard), Duane Allman (guitar), Dickey Betts (guitar), Berry Oakley (bass), Butch Trucks (drums) and Jaimoe Johanson (drums) lasted until October 21, 1971 , when Duane dies in an accident while riding his Harley Davidson.

The first album after Duane's passing”Eat a Peach” (February 1972) sees Dickey's first try in the band as a singer in “Blue Sky” (a song written by Betts himself for his future wife).

With the following album “Brothers and Sisters” (1973) the guitarist's role as composer increases. In the early years of the band there were many compositions written by Betts himself. Among many we remember, “Revival” (the band's first single) “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed”, “Ramblin Man”, “Jessica”, “Blue Sky”.

The relationship between the late Duane and Betts was always very collaborative and transcended the traditional division between rhythm and lead guitarist. The two exchanged roles with extreme naturalness. Duane's disappearance inevitably changed these balances too.

“We would sit around and talk about how messed up it was that in any good band that gets together, the guitar players start getting jealous of each other and start trying to drive each other away and ruin everything,” Betts told the Sarasota Herald Tribune in 2014. “Duane and I had an understanding, like some kind of old soul understanding, to play together.”

In 1976, after major disagreements over a drug issue with Gregg, Dickey decided to leave the band and formed Dickey Betts & Great Southern and the Allman Bros Band finally broke up.

In November 1977 the Allman Band was reborn again with Betts on guitar who definitively and officially became its leader. It lasts until 1982 when the group separates again also due to a style that now appears outside the great aesthetic canons of the time and no longer achieves the success of the previous decade.

“We were frustrated,” Betts told the Los Angeles Times in 1989 recalling the period. “The music had become stale. We were confused. Drugs were a problem and some of us had to overcome it. It wasn't just Gregg, but his problem was more obvious and noteworthy.”

In '89 Betts and Gregg Alman with their old companions reunited again, taking inspiration from the creation of an anthology “Dreams”. The group achieved good results but in 2000 Dickey definitively abandoned (more or less voluntarily) the band due to major disagreements with Gregg Allman (who later passed away in 2017).

After his final farewell to the group Betts continued his “difficult” solo career while his former band still achieved success. Betts was invited to play some songs during the Allman Brothers Band's 40th anniversary shows in 2009, but he declined.

In 2014 Dickey definitively leaves the music scene.

“Dickey wrote a lot of key songs and all those great instrumentals,” the group's newest member told Rolling Stone in 2017 Warren Haynes“but because the band was called the Allman Brothers Band, it was confusing to people.”