Dickey Betts, Allman Brothers Band Guitarist And Co-Founder, Passed Away At Age 80

(NewsReady.com) – Dickey Betts, guitarist and singer with acclaimed 70s rock group The Allman Brothers Band, has died aged 80. Betts, like the other members, drifted in and out of the band over 30 years. Throughout his career, he also worked with other bands and as a solo artist.

Forrest Richard “Dickey” Betts was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, on December 12, 1943. His parents enjoyed music, including bluegrass and country, and Betts appreciated it from a young age. By the time he was five, he was playing the ukelele, then moved up to larger instruments, finally settling on the guitar. At 16, he started to play with rock bands, beginning on the Florida circuit and then throughout the East Coast and Midwestern states. In 1967, he and Berry Oakley formed Second Coming, his first experience running a band.

Two years later, session player Duane Allman founded his own band along with his brother Gregg. Although Allman was a well-known guitarist who had collaborated with Eric Clapton, he wanted someone else who could play the instrument, and he chose Betts, who soon joined the band along with Oakley. Allman later said, “I’m the famous guitar player, but Dickey is the good one.” The band quickly became known for Betts and Allman’s twin-guitar harmonies.

Then, in 1971, Allman died in a motorbike accident. That left Betts as the band’s only guitarist until it broke up in 1976. However, in 1978, Gregg Allman and Capricorn Records boss Phil Walden approached Betts about reforming the band, and he agreed. Three years later, the Allman Brothers Band broke up again. The members reunited for a 20th-anniversary tour in 1989 and went on to play for another 25 years.

Then, in 2000, the three other survivors from the original band challenged Betts about his drug and alcohol use. It was a problem that had plagued the group since Duane Allman, Oakley, and two of their roadies checked into rehab with a heroin addiction in 1971, days before Allman’s death. Following a dispute, he left the band for the final time and reformed one of his earlier ventures, the Dickey Betts Band. He released his final album in 2021.

Dickey Betts was married five times and had four children. He died of cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at his Osprey, Florida, home on April 18.

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