The Allman Brothers Band was started by the brothers Gregg and Duane Allman. The two were active in various bands until 1969 when they launched their now-iconic band called The Allman Brothers Band. Since that time the band has risen in status to become royalty in the Southern Rock genre. Sadly, Gregg passed away in 2017, but his legacy lives on through the music he helped to create. Here are the 20 best Allman Brothers Band songs of all times as voted on by critics and fans alike.
20. “Black Hearted Woman”
This song was released in 1969, the first year that The Allman Brothers Band became official. It’s a blues tune that gave the world a preview of what to expect next. This is an emotional tune that features some fantastic guitar work with complicated riffs that grabbed the attention of audiences throughout the country.
19. “It’s Not My Cross to Bear”
This is another release from 1969 that was one of the opening songs on the debut album that The Allman Brothers Band released. It was paired with “Don’t Want You No More,” The bluesy tune is one of Gregg’s most iconic hits that highlighted his vocal abilities. It quickly became a fan favorite and it has remained so throughout the years.
18. “Midnight Rider”
“Midnight Rider” was released in 1970 after the band had been going strong for about a year. Expectations from them were high because they had already set the bar to a nearly impossible height to beat. This song delivered high and it pleased the masses. The spirit of the song is a little on the wistful side and it grabs listeners at a deep level. It’s a song about not even owning the clothes you’re wearing but making a break for it and keeping on the road as the “Midnight Rider.” It’s a tribute to Gregg Allman’s low of motorcycles. It’ a theme song for bike riders around the world to this day.
17. “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”
“In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” is a powerful and moving song that features long instrumental interludes that the band has become famous for. It serves as a perpetuation of the myth that the Allmans made a habit of rehearsing their music in a Georgia cemetery and that they pulled the title of this song from 1970 from one of the headstones near their jamming locale.
16. “Ain’t Waistin’ Time No More”
This song was released on the Eat a Peach album in 1972. It is a song that was written after Duane Allman’s untimely death. It was a tribute to the human spirit and the fact that we must continue to love forward after a tragic event takes place. This became one of the most popular Allman Brothers Band songs of all time because of its deep meaning to not only Gregg but also for all the fans who were still in mourning at the loss of Duane who was in his prime.
“Revival” is a release from 1970 that spread the theme of loving peace and happiness, reminiscent of the fading hippie era. The song gave a nod to that period in time but it also perpetuated the notion that love is a good thing and we could all use a healthy dose of it in our lives. The song was one that audiences were invited to sing along with and they willingly complied with the request. It was a great song for involving the spectators in what was happening onstage. What a way to engage the fans!
14. “Mountain Jam”
“Mountain Jam” was released in 1970. It was a magical song for dyed in the wool Allman Brothers fans because it’s one that they would often extend for a long time. Fans loved it because the jam gave fans what they wanted to hear with mountain music that was played with skill and precision. This was an all-time favorite that would often go on for 30 minutes with the longest version continuing for a full 44 minutes on the 1970 live album at Ludlow Garage.
The 1973 release “Southbound” was a favorite for fans that loved the piano. It took the blues to the ultimate heights with Leavell playing his heart out. The song was written by Betts, who would come in and out of the group as he would experience big issues with Gregg Allman and drummer Butch Trucks. They worked well together musically, but they didn’t get on very well in their personal lives. “Southbound” may be one of Betts’ best works to date.
12. “Little Martha”
“Little Martha” was released in 1972. This is a simple and short tune that came out on the Eat a Peach album. It was perhaps one of the most memorable sendoff songs ever written. It served as a sendoff for beloved band member Duane Allman after his passing.
11. “No One to Run With”
“No One to Run With” is a 1994 release that was also written by Betts. Gregg delivered this song that embraced the theme of death, which had become nearly a signature theme in his music. It’s something that was on his mind, along with the theme of donation and it became his ode to the fallen in his life, that also celebrated their memory. It was a classic blues song that listeners could identify with.
“Soulshine” was released in 1994. This tune came along when Warren Haynes became a part of the band as a guitar player. He would step back when Betts would make his periodic reappearance in the band, but this is the song that truly made him shine as a talented songwriter and integral member of the group. This was perhaps his most significant contribution to the Allman Brothers Band.
9. “High Cost of Low Living”
“High Cost of Low Living” was first introduced in the year 2003 on the Hittin’ The Note album. This would be the last album ever released by the band. His vocals had become even grittier by this time in his life and it discussed the lower side of life that had the power to inspire some of his best guitar work yet leave a note of lament. It’s one of the best songs the band has performed in terms of its delivery and quality.
8. “Blue Sky”
“Blue Sky” was released in 1972, appearing on the Eat a Peach album. When Dune was killed, the band was partway through recording the album. It would have been too easy for them to call it quits and scrap the recording sessions, but they came up with a double LP instead. “Blue Sky” introduced Btts’ vocal on a record ever. The dual guitar interplay between Gregg and Betts made this one of the best tracks ever released by the group.
“Melissa” is a song that was released for the first time in 1972. It was a song that appeared on the Eat a Peach album. This song had a great deal of meaning for Gregg and the other members of the band because it was the favorite song of Duane, ever written by his brother. This song was written years before the group was even formed and it was one that Duane was particularly fond of. Gregg fell into the habit of performing this song on his acoustic guitar as a solo performance. It has a forlorn theme that grabbed at the heartstrings of the listeners and it’s one that was always well received by audiences. Some even ventured that the simple yet moving tune may have been one of the best that Gregg Allman had ever written.
“Jessica” is a song that was released in its original studio version in 1973, with a feature that made it stand out from all the other songs. It contained an instrumental that went on for a full seven minutes. Betts is the writer of “Jessica’ and it became one of the most well-received songs performed on stage by the band. This is a melodic tune that left plenty of room for the band members to show off their amazing musical abilities with some of the best guitar and piano work ever rendered on a recording, and onstage for that matter. “Jessica’ remains an Allman Brothers Band classic and fan-favorite to this day.
5. “Just Ain’t Easy”
“Just Ain’t Easy” was released in 1979. The song came at a time in Gregg Allman’s life when he had earned deep respect as one of the greatest white blues soul singers of all time. He had his niche within the genre with his southern rock overtones which made his work all the more special. This song has been identified by critics and fans alike as one of the best for his vocal performances. The words and delivery of the song made listeners feel the emotions that were coming out of the piece and this made it one of the most memorable songs of Gregg’s career.
4. “Ramblin Man”
“Ramblin Man” was released in 1973 and it soon became one of the Allman Brothers Band’s most iconic tunes. The song was written by Betts and performed by him early in the Allman Brothers Band’s long and storied career. It took the group from the traditional blues genre and place it firmly in the southern rock category, similar to the spirit that was ingrained in “Midnight Rider.” The two got you up and got you going. There was just something moving about this song that made people love it.
3. “Old Before My Time”
“Old Before My Time” was released in 2003. This is a song that was co-written by Gregg Allman and Haynes for the album released in 2003. The lyrics are the most poetic that was ever written by Gregg, but the theme is one that was powerful and moving. It made his fans feel the depths of his emotions as he explained that all of the things that he used to place value on when he was younger made him old before his time.
“Dreams” is an Allman Brothers Band song that was released in 1969. It was from the self-titled album and when it was first released. It was one of the first songs from the first album that was prone to some insanely long instrumental interludes. It set the stage for many songs to follow, that would feature the signature epic instrumentals.
1. “Whipping Post”
One of the best songs that the Allman Brothers Band has ever released was from their debut album. The lyrics and music of “Whipping Post” soon became iconic with fans of the band after its release in 1969. For decades this song has found favor with old and new audiences alike. It is one of those instant classics that requires little explanation. “Whipping Post” was a closing song on the album that came off like an old blues tune. When Gregg Allman wrote this song he had just entered his 20s. It was one of his earliest hits, and it has been performed with instrumental interludes that range from five minutes on the studio version to up to 23 minutes when the song was performed live. “Whipping Post” may not have been everyone’s favorite Allman Brothers Band song, but it was one of the all-time favorites of many listeners. It continues to be one of the most iconic that the banks ever released and it is still played today on oldies stations.