Friday, June 01, 2012

Books: Not My Cross to Bear by Gregg Allman

My Cross to BearMy Cross to Bear by Gregg Allman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Musician and occasional actor Gregg Allman sure packed a lot of living into his sixty-five years, and this tell all biography lays bare a true to life tale of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Starting as a fatherless youth smitten with rhythm and blues music, Allman bought his first guitar as a teenager and never looked back. Soon bypassed by his guitar prodigy brother Duane, Allman switched to the organ and began to sing in a series of bands that played across the Southeast United States. After floundering in California for a while he struck gold with the formation of the Allman Brothers Band, one of the most popular bands of the 1970's and soon to become a staple of classic rock radio. Their success was tinged by tragedy though, with the loss of Duane Allman and another band member to motorcycle accidents. The band soldiered on and ironically reached their peak in popularity just after the accidents with a well received live album and a double LP that went to #1 on the pop charts. At this points tempers started to fray and the band would suffer intermittent break-ups and personnel changes to the present day. Allman discusses all of the bands machinations in detail as he does his increasing dependence on drugs and alcohol. His series of six marriages is almost unbelievable especially his tabloid heavy marriage to Cher during the 1970's. Allman's years of heavy drinking and drug abuse not only took a heavy toll on his music, but left his health in tatters. He describes in detail his decent and the subsequent series of very serious operations he had done to try to repair the damage. This roller-coaster ride of a book ends on an up note, with the reunited Allman Brothers Band playing a yearly set of shows and Allman's release of a popular solo LP in 2011. My Cross to Bear -

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