Flashback: Gregg Allman Marks 10 Years Without Brother Duane With Acoustic “Melissa”


Allman Brothers on MV / YouTube


July, 1981

The result of a songwriting marathon that yielded 1 good song out of over 200 written, The Allman Brothers Band’s iconic ‘Melissa’ isn’t just our favorite – it was Duane Allman’s, too.

UNITED STATES – OCTOBER 16: Photo of Allman Brothers October 16, 1970, Alabama, Muscle Shoals, Allman BrothersL-R: Gregg Allman backgroundDuane Allman Foreground Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Gregg Allman loves telling stories about the times after dinner when Duane would often ask him to “play [me] that song – the song about that girl,” and every performance of ‘Melissa’ following Duane’s 1971 death at the age of 24 feels like it’s more for Duane than for the audience.


In 1981, The Allman Brothers Band took the stage at NBC Studios for a performance of ‘Melissa’ that seems a little sadder and much more soulful than others; coming up quickly was the 10th anniversary of Duane’s death, and what better way to remember someone like him than with an emotionally charged performance of his favorite song?

SPARTANBURG, SC – OCTOBER 17: (L-R) Duane Allman, Greg Allman and Berry Oakley backstage before the Allman Brothers’ performance at the Sitar on October 17, 1970 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Gregg Allman, despite being seated between Dickey Betts and “Dangerous” Dan Toler seems to draw into himself – it’s almost like he’s recalling those nights after dinner when he’d dig out his guitar and play for Duane.

Fun Fact: Like Gregg, Duane was left-handed, but learned to play guitar right-handed.

Hands down, this is the most beautiful performance of ‘Melissa’ we’ve ever seen. Gregg Allman is at the top of his game, and with bandmates like Betts and Haynes who together create pure magic sharing the stage with him, the sky was absolutely the limit that night!