From hard to mellow rock that frequently swung into deep R&B, the Macon-based group literally seized the rock and roll world with its first album in 1969. Brothers Duane (guitar) and Greg Allman (vocals/keyboards), who started the group were joined by Dicky Betts (guitar), Berry Oakley (bass), and Butch Trucks and "Jonny" Jai Jai Johanson (both drums). Often mistakenly believed to have been born in Georgia, both Duane and Gregg were actually born in Nashville, Tennessee.
Among the hits recorded by the band were Statesboro Blues (written by Georgian Blind Willie McTell), Dreams, Midnight Rider, Down to the Whipping Post, In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, Mountain Jam, Blue Sky and Little Martha, which includes recordings from the posthumously released recording "Eat a Peach."
In March, 1971, the band recorded "Live at the Fillmore East," a popular concert venue in New York City. From here the band continued to tour the U. S. through late October, when they returned to Macon for a well-deserved rest. After a birthday party for Berry Oakley's wife, Duane headed off to ride "Sweet Melissa," his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. As he returned to Macon, a log truck pulled in front of him at the intersection of Hillcrest and Bartlett. Trying to avoid a collision, Allman laid the bike down, but his head struck either the truck or a nearby lamppost, and he died during surgery.
The following year Berry Oakley lost control of his motorcycle and struck a Macon city bus near the intersection of Napier Avenue near Inverness Street, roughly 3 blocks from the site of Duane's accident. Oakley refused medical assistance in spite of a serious head injury. He died an hour later, shortly after friends had taken him to a hospital.