08 April 2009

And the Road Goes on Forever: Duane Allman & Berry Oakley

Phillip Ramati compiled a nice article published this past Sunday in the Macon Telegraph. Remembering the Allman Brothers Band: The road goes on forever commemorates the 40th anniversary of the band's arrival in Macon, Georgia. It starts out like this:

"In April 1969, the band came to Macon and changed the face of music.

They moved to Macon 40 years ago. No one here had seen the likes of people like them before.

They were hippies. Long-hairs. Rebels.

A band that had a black member playing with five white guys? A band that performed with two drummers?

They played a style of music that defied a definition. It wasn't just rock 'n' roll. It was blues, jazz, country, folk. It was eventually christened Southern Rock.

Duane Allman, a guitar prodigy, put the band together. His brother, Gregg, sang and played organ. Dickey Betts played guitar. Berry Oakley was on bass. Butch Trucks and Jai "Jaimoe" Johanny Johanson both played drums.

They were called the Allman Brothers Band. This is their story, in the words of those who knew them best.

It's a well-known fact the ABB spent a large part of their time in the early days in Macon hanging out at Rose Hill Cemetery. It is fitting that Duane Allman and Berry Oakely were laid to rest there.

Both Duane and Berry passed away before I was born, but I don't think one can live in middle Georgia and not know about them and the ABB. I first visited the graves of Duane and Berry several years ago. "Everyone" has heard the stories of the parties that have gone on at their gravesites. I never noticed any trash around or destruction of the sites, but that could've been a testament to the tenders of the graves.

At the time of my early visits, there was only a small rope-chain in front of the graves. I respected the barrier, but could've easily stepped over it. Now, 40 years after the ABB's arrival in Macon, things are much different. There are bars taller than I surrounding the graves. Considering people come from all over to visit the graves, and even well-meaning individuals sometimes harm gravesites, this is probably a good idea.

Philip Ramati's article includes some words from Joseph "Red Dog" Campbell, ABB roadie: "...Nobody would hang out with us, so we would hang out at Rose Hill Cemetery and go do our thing..." I wonder if Duane and Berry look down in amazement at all the people that "hang out" with them now.

Duane Allman
Nov 20, 1946
Oct 29, 1971

Our Brother B. O.
Raymond Berry Oakley, III
Born in Chicago: Apr 4, 1948
Set Free: Nov 11, 1972
"...And The Road Goes On Forever..."


  1. During the 1980s I used to visit Rose Hill as a 'getaway spot' and always stopped at the Allman/Oakley graves to pick up any trash there and to leave flowers. Not even a rope barrier then. If there's an increase in vandalism and trash I guess the fence was necessary, but it makes me sad to see it.

  2. I feel the same way -- probably necessary, but sad to think it is so... Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I had an article done on me in 63 because I had long hair, which really wasn't long at all, the abuse directed at me was amazing while fellow students cheered the assassination of JFK, I was forced to do exercises during gym and kicked off team sports, by the time I graduated from UGA in 69, the Allman Brothers were just rolling in. You know what they mostly brought to Macon, heroin. Now the government names roads and monuments after them, we've come far.

    1. You should be ashamed. True or not, I don’t know, but I was raised better than to be as disrespectful as you are being sir. Should be ashamed. You don’t obviously haven’t matured much yourself.


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