On a sunny Spring Saturday in Macon, Georgia, Gregg Allman was laid to rest at a private funeral surrounded by friends and family. The iconic rock singer passed away on May 27 due to complications from liver cancer after several years spent quietly battling the disease. While the ceremony itself was private, hundreds of fans were allowed to overlook Rose Hill Cemetery and surrounding streets to pay their respects.
Among the mourners were several members of the Allman Bros. Band and Gregg’s solo group, Allman’s ex-wife Cher, former President Jimmy Carter, singer Bonnie Bramlett, Allman’s friend Peter Frampton, and many other musicians who worked with the singer over the course of his career. Bandmembers in attendance included founding Allmans Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson and guitarist Dickey Betts, the latter of whom sat with Gregg’s family and had been in close touch with the singer in his final weeks, a source close to the family tells Variety. Latter-day Allmans guitarist Derek Trucks, nephew of the late founding Allmans drummer Butch Trucks, and his wife Susan Tedeschi were in attendance, as was Berry Oakley Jr., son of late original Allmans bassist Berry Oakley.
Allman’s longtime manager Michael Lehman (left) with the singer’s closest friend, Chank Middleton, in front of the Allman Brothers Museum, “The Big House.”
In lieu of wearing their formal, funeral blacks, about 100 of Allman’s closest loved ones were asked by his estate to wear jeans to honor his southern roots during the ceremony at Snow’s Memorial Chapel.
Eulogies were delivered first by Allman’s oldest friend, Chank Middleton, and his manager Michael Lehman; then by his children Devon, Layla, and Delilah Island, his niece Galadrielle; and finally from his wife at the time of his death, Shannon.
The service concluded with the attendees singing “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” led by Allman’s solo pianist Pete Levin. The pallbearers — the children and several bandmembers, with Middleton and Lehman — then carried the coffin to the hearse to a recording of “Little Martha,” which was recorded by Duane Allman, the band’s cofounder and Gregg’s older brother, just weeks before his death in a motorcycle accident on October 29, 1971, just as the band was achieving major stardom. His death shadowed Gregg for the remainder of his life; Lehman told Variety last week that Gregg “would think or talk about Duane almost every day.”
Fans in Macon, Georgia outside the Allman Brothers museum “The Big House” during the tribute performance after Gregg’s funeral Saturday.
Allman was buried beside Duane (father of Galadrielle) and Oakley, who died in a motorcycle crash eerily similar to Duane’s in 1972. Gregg and Duane’s mother’s ashes will soon be buried there as well.
The hearse and six limousines then drove to the funeral home, accompanied by a police motorcycle escort. Thousands of fans lined the street as it passed.
On Saturday night, a jam in Gregg’s honor took place at “The Big House,” the Allman Brothers Museum. Most of the bandmembers took part — in the clip below, longtime Allmans associate Junior Mack and Oakley’s son join Allman’s solo band for a version of “Stormy Monday” featuring a blazing solo, in the finest family tradition, from Gregg’s guitarist and musical director Scott Sharrard.