Dickey Betts

The Allman Brothers Band - Dickey Betts

Photo by Sidney Smith: SidneySmithPhotos.com

Dickey Betts, a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, has one of the most distinctive voices in music today. Known as one of the most influential guitar players of all time, Betts has mastered a seamless style of lyrical melody and rhythm, marrying country, jazz, blues, and rock into one unparalleled sound. The New York Times has called Betts “one of the great rock guitarists…who thinks like a jazz improviser, in thoughtfully structured, cleanly articulated, intelligently paced phrases…[when] Mr. Betts was tearing into one of his improvisations, the music was about as exciting as rock and roll gets.”

Betts joined several bands in the ’60s and eventually formed a band with bassist Berry Oakley. One fateful night in 1969, their band jammed with another local group featuring Duane and Gregg Allman, marking the birth of the Allman Brothers Band. In addition to matching band leader Duane Allman lick for lick, Betts also wrote such memorable songs as “Revival” and the instrumental tour de force “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” After Duane Allman and Berry Oakley were killed in accidents a year apart in 1971 and 1972, the Allman Brothers worked through their sorrow, with Betts writing and singing the group’s biggest hit, “Ramblin’ Man.” Members of the band ventured into solo careers in 1973, and when the ABB officially split up in 1976, he formed Dickey Betts and Great Southern. The ABB reformed in 1978, but soon split again.

In 1989, their 20th anniversary, the Allman Brothers Band regrouped again. The chemistry that resulted from the unique two-guitar approach of Warren Haynes and Betts made the Allman Brothers Band once again one of the most compelling groups in the country. The band enjoyed continued success throughout the ’90s, being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, winning their first Grammy, and amazing audiences with their powerful live performances.

A year after the Allman Brothers Band celebrated their 30th anniversary, Betts departed the group to hit the road on his own. His guitar sound is still immediately recognizable, with soaring leads providing musical wings, and his road-seasoned vocals reflecting grit and hard-earned respect. Dickey released a solo CD in June, 2001 mining such American music genres as jazz, western swing, country rock, blues, Celtic and some good ole rock ’n’ roll. Betts was ranked #58 by Rolling Stone in their list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”

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