By Damian Fanelli | Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
On January 1, 1969, Duane Allman, an in-demand 22-year-old session guitarist, cracked open his notebook and jotted down his New Year’s resolution:
“This year I will be more thoughtful of my fellow man, exert more effort in each of my endeavors, professionally as well as personally. Take love wherever I find it, and offer it to everyone who will take it.
“In this coming year I will seek knowledge from those wiser than me and try to teach those who wish to learn from me. I love being alive and I will be the best man I possibly can.”
It turned out to be a big year for Allman; his new group, the Allman Brothers Band, would record and release their monumental self-titled debut album—the one that features “It’s Not My Cross to Bear,” “Dreams” and “Whipping Post.”
Rolling Stone’s Lester Bangs called it “consistently […] subtle, and honest, and moving,” describing the ABB as “a white group who’ve transcended their schooling to produce a volatile blues-rock sound of pure energy, inspiration and love.” Bruce Eder at Allmusic says it “might be the best debut album ever delivered by an American blues band, a bold, powerful, hard-edged, soulful essay in electric blues with a native Southern ambience.”
Duane also played the occasional session in 1969, adding his instantly recognizable slide guitar to Aretha Franklin’s cover of the Band’s “The Weight,” which you can check out below.
Allman died almost three years later, on October 29, 1971. He was 24.