In an announcement on the Allman Brothers page we learned today of the passing of the great Dickey Betts.

“It is with profound sadness and heavy hearts that the Betts family announce the peaceful passing of Forrest Richard ‘Dickey’ Betts (December 12, 1943 – April 18, 2024) at the age of 80 years old. The legendary performer, songwriter, bandleader and family patriarch passed away earlier today at his home in Osprey, FL., surrounded by his family. Dickey was larger than life, and his loss will be felt world-wide. At this difficult time, the family asks for prayers and respect for their privacy in the coming days. More information will be forthcoming at the appropriate time.”

This one hits especially hard. In addition to being a huge fan, I would posit that my personal guitar style is most influenced by Betts, whose melodic leads were the foundation of not only the Allman Brothers, but much of Southern Rock and literally thousands of bands and players in the jamband world.

There aren’t a lot of bands that can truly look at being the springboard for whole genres of music. Obviously the Grateful Dead, and Black Sabbath. Betts and the Allman Brothers unquestionably were the bridge that connected Southern Rock, Classic Rock, and the Jam scene in a way that no other band has done before or since. You can see it in how they’ve influenced everyone from Widespread Panic, Blackberry Smoke, and the bands helmed by their own kids.

There are so many tribute bands playing the Allman Brothers and Dickey’s music that they are too numerous to name. There are even bands that showcase the links between the Allman Brothers band like western Massachusetts’ Dead Man’s Waltz or various bands named Steal Your Peach.

Much of what we associate with Southern Rock was invented by Betts and Duane Allman, dual guitar licks that immediately bring us into that southern rock headspace. This sound appealed to everyone from bikers to business people, creating a sound that is truly American.

In addition to incredible guitar playing, Betts was a skilled songwriter. His songs “Jessica” and “Blue Sky” should be in the pantheon of greatest rock songs of all time. The opus “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” is among the greatest jam songs ever performed live by a band.

From “Calling Dickey Betts the second guitarist in the Allman Brothers Band — right-hand man to Duane Allman and sparring partner with Warren Haynes in the group’s latter-day revival — does him a disservice. Following Duane‘s death, Betts became co-captain with Gregg Allman, leading the group through ups and downs over the decades, all the while establishing the Allman Brothers Band as the preeminent Southern rock outfit. Betts also led Great Southern and the Dickey Betts Band during hiatuses from the Allmans.

Born Richard Betts in West Palm Beach, Florida on December 12, 1945, Betts was raised in Bradenton, Florida. He began playing music at an early age, picking up ukulele when he was five and graduating to guitar by the time he was a teenager.”

The world has lost too many of the Allman Brothers. From the early deaths at too young of an age of members Duane Allman and Oakley, to the more recent and deaths of Greg Allman and now Betts, the world mourns these incredible players, writers, creators.

The Allman Brothers Band sold some ten million albums and had at least five albums certified platinum. They were consistently a top grossing touring band for decades. Their legacy will be forever etched in our hearts and in the case of Betts, on the fingers of guitar players everywhere as they try to emulate his simple and brilliant playing and his incredible tone.

“The Road, Goes on Forever.”

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