Allman Brothers Co-Founder Dickey Betts Dead at 80

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dickey Betts, guitarist and key counterpart with his slide and picking style playing opposite Duane Allman in The Allman Brothers, passed away today (April 18) in Osprey, Florida at the age of 80.

His family posted a statement on Instagram, writing, “It is with profound sadness and heavy hearts that the Betts family announce the peaceful passing of Forrest Richard ‘Dickey’ Betts (December 12, 1943 – April 18, 2024) at the age of 80 years old. The legendary performer, songwriter, bandleader and family patriarch passed away earlier today at his home in Osprey, FL., surrounded by his family. Dickey was larger than life, and his loss will be felt world-wide.”

Born on Dec. 12, 1943, in West Palm Beach, Fla., and raised in Bradenton, Betts and fellow bandmate Berry Oakley joined Duane and Gregg Allman in 1969 to form a new group based in Macon, Ga.

The dual guitarwork of Duane and Betts helped define the Southern rock of the 70s, and according to Betts that was by design.

“We’d sit and talk about how screwed up it is that every good band you get together, the guitar players start getting jealous of each other and start trying to hotdog out each other and ruin the whole thing,” Betts told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in 2014. “Duane and I had an understanding, like an old soul kind of understanding, of let’s play together.”

After Duane’s tragic death from a motorcycle accident in 1971, Betts became more prominent as a songwriter and vocalist in the band.

He contributions include writing the band’s long-running concert staple “Blue Sky” on 1972’s “Eat a Peach,” the group’s first album without Duane. The record charted at No. 4.

The 1973 release “Brothers and Sisters” rose to No. 1 nationally on the back of the countrified Betts-penned single and huge hit “Ramblin’ Man,” which peaked at No. 2.

Betts relationship with the band was tumultuous up until his exit in 2000. He did reconcile with Gregg Allman before the singer-keyboardist’s death from liver cancer complications from in 2017, and attended his funeral.

Cameron Crowe based the character of Stillwater’s Russell, played by Billy Crudup, on Betts.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Allman Brothers Band in 1995.

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