Duane Allman’s initial love of music came from his father, Willis Allman, who was murdered when Duane was three years old. Jim Shepley, Duane’s closest friend during his teen years in Daytona Beach, recalls, “Duane would say to me, ‘Gee, Jim, I remember my dad pickin’ and singin’, and that’s kind of where I always got my interest in music.’” Shepley, in turn, inspired Duane to play guitar, teaching him how to fingerpick blues songs and showing him the 12-bar blues of Jimmy Reed and B.B. King.
As Shepley points out, Bob Greenlee was another key figure in Duane’s musical development. As a teenager, Greenlee organized an integrated musical review that consisted of the Untils – four black singers – backed by the all-white Houserockers. Gregg and Duane Allman performed in the Houserockers before starting their own bands, notably the Allman Joys, Hour Glass, and Allman Brothers Band. Greenlee was also an outstanding student and athlete. He was captain of the 1966 Yale University football team and a 1967 fourth-round draft pick for the Miami Dolphins, a position he turned down to devote himself to music. Continue reading