Legendary Southern rocker and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Gregg Allman underwent a successful liver transplant surgery Wednesday at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. The 62-year-old “Midnight Rider” singer, according “Arts Beat” in the New York Times, has been on a liver transplant waiting list for years. Although an admitted reformed long-time drug user, Gregg Allman said he believed most of the damage done to his liver was due to his contraction of Hepatitis C, which he thinks may have come through a tattoo needle.
The transplant surgery left him groggy, his manager, Michael Lehman, told the Associated Press, but otherwise okay.
In a later statement, Gregg Allman said: “I feel pretty good, considering everything that’s happened.”
Gregg Allman, along with his brother, guitarist Duane Allman, who would die in a motorcycle accident in 1971, formed what would become one of the seminal rock bands in the southern rock movement of the 1970s and undeniably one of the most influential bands in rock and country music history. The Allman Brothers Band, with Gregg Allman on vocals, would go on to record 11 studio albums and numerous live albums — many with original songs not recorded in the studio — in their four decades together. Rolling Stone magazine placed them at #52 on their list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2004.
Gregg Allman also has had a successful career as a solo recording artist, releasing seven studio albums, including “I’m No Angel,” which saw its title track peak at #1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in 1986. But besides his vocals with the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman is probably most recognized for his work on the various renditions of the song, “Midnight Rider,” which was released on both the 1970 album “Idlewild South” (the sophomore effort by the Allman Brothers Band) and 1973’s “Laid Back” (Gregg Allman’s first solo album). Even though it is considered one of the Allman Brothers Band’s signature songs, it was never released as a single by the band. Gregg Allman, who co-wrote the song, took his altered rendition to #19 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 singles chart in early 1974.
The liver transplant forced the rocker to cancel the Allman Brothers Band’s appearance at the Eric Clapton Crossroads Festival in Chicago on Saturday.
Allman began taking Hepatitis treatments in 2007.
“I changed my ways years ago,” Allman said in the statement. “But we can’t turn back time. Every day is a gift, and I can’t wait to get back on the road making music with my friends.”
Gregg Allman performs “Midnight Rider” solo in the following YouTube video filmed in 1990.
Associated Press via LATimes.com
“Allman Brothers Band,” Billboard.com
“Gregg Allman,” Billboard.com