Gregg Allman- The Midnight Rider Goes Home to Macon
Gregg Allman was born in Nashville and lived in Savannah, Sarasota, L.A. and traveled the world. On Saturday, he went back to Macon to be laid to rest with his brother Duane and friend, Berry Oakley in the city that started it all. Macon, Georgia showed their love and respect saying goodbye to their musical son.
Thousands of people lined the streets for the one mile procession from Snow’s Memorial Chapel to Rose Hill Cemetery. They brought tributes of signs, flowers, balloons and Allman t-shirts of every variety were in attendance. Driving down Riverside with the windows open were the sounds of “Whipping Post” blaring through the air from speakers set up on street corners. It was an amazing sight and powerful statement about music’s importance in all our lives whatever genre it is.
People began to walk into Rose Hill Cemetery. It was silent as people walked toward the burial area. Fans were respectful as the private service was officiated under tents. A great act of kindness from the Allman family, to allow the fans to be a part of saying goodbye to their musical hero. Some people were sitting on the lawn above the graveside weeping, some were in prayer and some were sitting in the silence. You could hear the sounds of a bagpipe playing.
Macon is about Gregg Allman’s life. From the Big House to the H&H Restaurant, Allman belongs to Macon. Touring the Big House, which is a house that Berry Oakley, Gregg and Duane Allman lived in at one time is now the Allman Brothers Museum. Chock full of every kind of Allman memorabilia, it is a treasure trove for the diehard Allman fan. It is a must for an Allman fan to make the pilgrimage to the Big House where they will give you a map of every site Allman in Macon. Downtown Macon is a beautiful old historic area. In driving by the H&H Restaurant, it was closed for a private event. Berry Duane Oakley and Gregg’s son Michael Allman were talking to fans outside.
The private event at the Big House after the services turned into a street festival with the closing of Vineville Ave. and fans bringing chairs and tents to sit outside the house and listen to the jam of the treasured Allman catalog. It was a celebration of Allman’s life and music. Grant’s Lounge, another Allman haunt had a memorial jam going on all weekend with various musicians influenced by Gregg and the Brothers playing in honor of them.
Gregg Allman lived an interesting life. From his many wives to his battle with addiction, he showed he was human and fallible. One of my favorite stories about him is when he was done writing “Midnight Rider” with Robert Kim Payne in Macon, they broke into Capricorn Records to record the demo! He lived like most of us, making mistakes and learning from them. In 1995, he battled his demons to finally get sobriety. He is inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was given an honorary doctorate from Mercer University. He has written some of rock and blues most beloved songs. Fans can look forward to his new music coming out later this year “Southern Blood”.
“Thanks Gregg, for the soundtrack of our lives”….
photos by Vicky Sullivan / Rock The Lens Photography