Gregg Allman developed his love of music young and passed it along to his children, with four of the rock legend’s five kids following his footsteps into the music industry and carrying on his legacy.
Allman passed away in his Savannah, Georgia, home on Saturday after a bout with liver cancer. Family members released a statement about his passing, taking note of his love of music and how it pervaded his family.
Gregg struggled with many health issues over the past several years,” the family said in a statement posted on Facebook. “During that time, Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans, essential medicine for his soul. Playing music lifted him up and kept him going during the toughest of times.”
It was with these family members that Gregg Allman became a rock and roll pioneer, starting the Allman Brothers Band with brother Duane Allman. The group is credited as the greatest of the “Southern-rock” genre, Rolling Stone noted, which in turn influenced a generation of musicians.
Duane Allman was just 24 when he died in a motorcycle crash in 1971, leaving a scar on Gregg Allman that would remain for years. He often made reference to his brother, thinking of what Duane would have thought of how successful the band had grown.
“When it’s all said and done, I’ll go to my grave and my brother will greet me saying, ‘Nice work, little brother – you did all right,'” Allman wrote in his book My Cross to Bear (via Rolling Stone). “I must have said this a million times, but if I died today, I’ve had me a blast. I wouldn’t trade [my life] for nobody’s, but I don’t know if I’d do it again. If somebody offered me a second round, I think I’d have to pass on it.”
Music was also important to Gregg Allman’s children. For as much focus as there was on his music, Gregg Allman was also famous for his many high-profile relationships, including his marriage to singer Cher. Allman was married seven times in total and had five children. Four of them followed his footsteps in the music industry.
Son Devon Allman became a guitarist, keyboardist, and songwriter, founding the band Honeytribe and enjoying a successful solo career. Daughter Layla Brooklyn Allman is in the band Picture Me Broken.
Son Michael Allman, who has been described as the spitting image of Gregg, is also making his way through the music industry while battling a difficult relationship with his father. Gregg didn’t play a role in Michael’s life as he did for his other children, leading to hostility especially as Michael entered the music industry.
A 2013 article from the Tampa Bay Times noted that Michael Allman was trying to make a name for himself while avoiding the long shadow of his legendary father.
“Michael Allman was at a crossroads last year when he decided to confront the curse of a famous father,” the report noted. “At 46, he looks and sounds almost identical to legendary rocker Gregg Allman, but the son is determined to cut a path of his own — through the New Port Richey nightlife scene, of all places.”
Allman’s son Elijah Blue — whom he had with Cher — was the only child not to go into the music business.
While none of the four children reached the level of success that Gregg saw with the Allman Brothers Band, all have made their mark in other ways while maintaining strong influences from their father.
Another sad loss for the rock world. My condolences to his sons Devon and Elijah Blue. https://t.co/eLX3VaJwgP
— Richard Marcum (@RichardMarcum1) May 28, 2017
Elijah Blue Allman—The Complicated Relationship He Had With His Late Father, Gregg Allman https://t.co/5nMLI3e8CZ
— Julie Rosenbaum- (@ccr4ever) May 28, 2017
While Gregg Allman’s passing robbed the world of a rock pioneer, his children continue to carry on his legacy through their own careers.
[Featured Image by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Skyville]