Band Founding Member Passes Away

Band Founding Member Passes Away

( – The Allman Brothers Band, one of Rolling Stone’s Greatest Artists of All Time, formed in 1969 with Duane and Gregg Allman at the helm. They released 12 studio albums and skyrocketed to fame in the 1970s. Sadly, another one of the original members has now passed away.

Forrest Richard “Dickie” Betts was born on December 12, 1943 in West Palm Beach, Florida. He was musically inclined from a young age, learning to play the ukulele at just five years old before graduating to the guitar in his teens. He formed his first band as a teen and another in 1967 with Berry Oakley before the two joined up with Duane and Gregg Allman in 1969. Betts wrote one of the band’s most notable hits, “Ramblin’ Man.”

Betts became known for engaging in what critics called guitar dialogue with frontman Duane Allman, who famously said, “I’m the famous guitar player, but Dickie is the good one.” Sadly, Duane Allman died in October 1971 when he crashed while trying to avoid a truck while riding his motorcycle. The internal injuries he sustained were too severe for him to survive. The band persisted until 1973 when tense relationships eventually drove the members apart.

In 1974, Betts released a solo album, “Highway Call,” as Richard Betts, while still with the Allman Brothers Band. The band officially split in 1976 amid drug problems that plagued its members. They reunited three years later and continued to tour and record albums until 2000. The band fired Betts that year after a series of incidents involving drugs, alcohol, and a domestic violence charge.

In 2018, Betts underwent brain surgery after falling at home, but he continued on his musical path. He released two albums in 2018 and 2019.

On April 18, surrounded by his family, Betts died of a combination of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer at the age of 80. He leaves behind his wife of more than 34 years, Donna, and his four children. His friend and long-time collaborator Gregg Allman preceded him in death in 2017.

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