The world of music suffered a staggering blow when Duane Allman, one of the founding members and the guitarist of The Allman Brothers Band, tragically died in a motorcycle crash. At the tender age of 24 and merely three months after their breakthrough live album was released, Duane’s untimely death left the band and their fans in deep sorrow. The thought of continuing the band with only one of the Allman brothers, Gregg, seemed almost impossible.
Despite the heartbreaking loss, Gregg Allman took the reins and, with Dickey Betts stepping up creatively, The Allman Brothers Band managed not only to stay together but also to flourish in popularity post-Duane’s demise.
The band saw the completion and launch of the last album Duane worked on, “Eat a Peach,” four months after his death. This album served as a poignant homage to the late guitarist, with his masterful performances in ‘Mountain Jam’, ‘One Way Out’, and ‘Trouble No More’ being among the most powerful aspects of the record.
In addition, Gregg Allman finalized ‘Melissa’, a track that had been in the works for about five years. This song held a special place in Duane’s heart, prompting Gregg to include it in “Eat a Peach” as a quiet tribute to his late brother.
Among the other tributes in the album was ‘Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More,’ a song penned by Gregg Allman. It conveyed his gratitude for Duane’s musical contributions to the band and symbolized Gregg’s newfound determination to keep the band going in his brother’s memory. While parts of the song allude to the turmoil of the Vietnam War era, its core message is one of perseverance and resilience.
Regarding this, Gregg once said, “After my brother’s accident, we had three vinyl sides done of Peach, so I decided to continue that, and during the process, I wrote ‘Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More’ for my brother. We were all in a pretty bad state, but we returned to the studio, completed the record, and it sold remarkably well from the start.”
“Eat a Peach” was named after a saying Duane Allman was particularly fond of. As he explained to writer Ellen Mandel, “I’m hitting a lick for peace—and every time I’m in Georgia, I eat a peach for peace. But you can’t help the revolution, because there’s just evolution.”
The album wasn’t just a commercial success for The Allman Brothers Band. It served as a testament to the band’s resilience and their ability to persevere despite the loss of their leader. Following the album’s release, they decided not to find a replacement for Duane during their tour, with Betts taking up the role of the sole lead guitarist. Although they faced significant turbulence, including the death of their bassist Berry Oakley in another motorcycle accident in 1972, The Allman Brothers Band carried on, etching Duane Allman’s memory into their musical journey.