Dickey Betts No Shows as Allman Brothers Band Accepts Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award

While the television broadcast of The 54th Grammys airs tonight at 8PM ET on CBS, yesterday the academy’s 2012 Special Merit Awards Ceremony took place in Los Angeles where the Allman Brothers Band were among the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award. All of the surviving original members of the band spoke with the exception of exiled guitarist Dickey Betts. In addition, each of the current members of the group as well as former keyboardist Chuck Leavell and family members of late ABBers Duane Allman and Berry Oakley spoke during the Allmans’ nearly 23 minutes on stage.

Gregg Allman was the first to speak and thanked all of the crew and the fans before mentioning that his health was improving. Allman also thanked Bill Graham as did Leavell. Jaimoe was up next and thanked every musician who he had played with as well as his family before telling the story of how he met Duane. Drummer Butch Trucks took a large majority of the time on stage and told a few stories about Duane Allman and how much of making music is “in the moment.” Galadrielle, Duane’s daughter, spoke about her dad and how much it means to his legacy that the band still performs at such a high level. Britney and Berry Oakley Jr. talked about how close they still are with her late father’s bandmates and that they could feel her father’s presence on that stage.

Leavell was the first speaker to mention, and thank, Dickey Betts as Chuck told the audience that Dickey couldn’t make it but wanted to join him in thanking impressario Bill Graham, Capricorn Records head Phil Walden, engineer and producer Tommy Dowd, producer Johnny Sandlin and the fans. Betts, who was fired from the Allman Brothers Band in 2000, has previously said through his official website that he would be on hand to receive the award. Current members Warren Haynes, Oteil Burbridge, Marc Quinones and Derek Trucks each took a few moments and discussed what the legacy of the group meant to them. The Allman Brothers Band returns to the stage on March 9 at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.

Related Content

30 Responses

  1. do people even know that dickey betts wrote most of their best songs and was the closest to duane? blue sky? whipping post? melisa? jessica

    1. AlexB – Are you kidding me? Betts did not write Melissa or Whipping Post and as far as being “the closest to Duane” clearly that would be Duane’s brother Gregg. “Most people” know this.

    2. Dickey wrote In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, Revival, Blue Sky, Jessica, Ramblin Man, Pegasus, Seven Turns, Back Where It All Begins, Nobody Left To Run With, Southbound & Dozens more. He was responsible for holding the band together after the deaths of Duane and Berry as well as bringing Derek Trucks & Warren Haynes into the band. Claude is responsible for Moogis.

    3. Bunch of know it alls! LOLz…Berry Oakley & Duane were the ‘closest’ to each other in The ABB. If you’d read some stuff and/or books that is apparent.Berry O was pretty much inconsolable after Duane’s passing.
      Butch & Dickey were really tight for years too (they were kinda the ‘good ol boys’ of the band.

  2. I think everyone knows that. It’s a shame that he can’t be a part of the band. I saw them a few times while he was still around. But the fact is HE chose not to be there.

  3. alexb has no idea what he’s talking about. yes dickey wrote some great ones but still not close to what gregg did.. specifically in terms of the early years. i love dickey’s playing in the lineup with duane, and in many cases his solos are as good if not even better than duane’s. i’m also pretty sure that dickey was not the “closest one to duane”..

    Congrats to the Allman Brothers Band, past and present. My favorite band on the planet.

  4. his brother greg was probably closer to him than dickey. and, dickey didn’t write whipping post or melissa… greg did.

    1. This isn’t to csutton, it’s to anonymous:

      Dickey is a great player in his own right and Duane said so many times. To my ear, Duane is the best guitarist I’ve ever heard; his phrasing is just phenomenal, but Duane played his best music in collaboration with Dickey. Listen to Hourglass.

      Dickey is a prima donna and an ahole, but damn he can play. The ABB is a lesser band without him.

  5. Duane himself said that Dickey was the best guitarist around. It was Dickey that introduced the signature harmonies, and no on ever combined jazz, country, rock, and blues like he did, and continues to do.He also wrote the band’s biggest hits. After the shabby treatment Dickey received, the Allman Brothers won’t see any more support from me.

  6. CDS got it right.Dickey wrote their biggest hit Ramblin Man.Anyone who knows the Allmans music knows Duane and Dickey were responsable for all the early music.Dickey just kind of was over shadowed by Duane’s impact.After Duane died Dickey filled in on Duane’s slide parts on tour and with the success of Ramblin Man kept the band going.Dickey also got Warren in the band.His contributions to the band couldn’t even be mentioned by the other original members.Lame.

  7. It is a Wonderful thing, that the Brother got this award,they earned every bit of it. In my opinion I believe that Chuck Leavell was the saving grace in this Band. With the untimely deaths of Duane and Berry. I believe with Chucks mellow personality, talent and enthusiasm,He add the touch that they needed to keep them on track. Hats off to The Whole Band and Best to Dickie. I’m So glad we were all able to witness this unfold.Love You Brothers. Plus We all Love RoseLane because she played a big part in all this.

  8. heard on xm radio that dickey missed his flight to grammy’s. reason unknown but i am sure plenty of speculation will go on about the reason.

  9. Actually, Gregg wrote Whipping Post and Melissa, and Gregg has always written the lion’s share of songs (60-70 percent per album that weren’t re-worked covers). Having said that, he did write some great songs (Blue Sky, Ramblin Man, Jessica), and his guitar work with Duane was inspiring. Dickey wrote an acceptance speech and had a flight to LA but was unable to go for personal reasons (and no, not drugs). It would have been an amazing moment for ABB fans and family, but it didn’t happen.

  10. By all accounts, Berry Oakley was the closest to Duane. Anyway, for whatever reason, Dickey didn’t make it to the ceremony and wish the other three could have mentioned him. Yes, Chuck is a class act indeed!

  11. Alexb, you are partly right in that he did write some popular songs. But he didn’t write Melissa or Whipping Post. Gregg did. And I think Gregg and Berry were closest to Duane.

  12. WRONG! Greg does NOT do most of the writing, look at any Allmans album writing credits, its ALWAYS dominated by Dickie. I have ssen them in th 80’s,and 90’s with and without Dickie, they suck without him. The best line up without Duane was: Dickie,Warren,Greg,Butch Jamoie and the bass player from the original Govt mule(forgot his name). I refuse to see them w/o Dickie. Derek is a great player, but the sound is way off without Dickie’s voice and guitar. Great Southern!!!!!!

  13. Dickey didn’t write Whipping Post or Melissa, that was all Gregg. And Berry & Duane were best friends, not that they weren’t all brothers. But Dickey did lead the band after Berry died, and carried them through the years where they were playing for their biggest crowds.

  14. Not to mention Dicky Betts is just plain bad behavior. As Duane once said, “I am the famous guitarist. Dicky is the good one.”

    Slide guitar lost it’s best musician. Dicky Betts is one of the greatest “bouncy” lead guitarist and best song writer the ABB ever had. Forget the gossip. It was a shame Gregg didn’t mention him. I think less of Gregg as a person (not musician) for that purposeful cruelty. You must learn to forgive and give.

    ABB Fan 43 years. Thank you Chuck for saying Dicky Betts. Blue Sky, Ramblin Man every bouncy lead and song was Dicky Betts! Period.

  15. The first ABB recording I ever heard was “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”, a Betts composition, from the At Fillmore East album. This was on a Los Angeles station that played album tracks not Top 40, shortly after the album’s mid-’71 release. That haunting melody, delivered by the unprecedented (to my young ears) twin lead guitar attack of Duane Allman and the song’s author, thrilled at least one 19-year-old listener to the core. The same station played “Whipping Post”, “Statesboro Blues”, “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More”, and “One Way Out” from the Fillmore album; and I liked them, very much, but I loved “Reed”.

    A year later the station — KRLA? God bless you, whoever you were! — was playing the lovely, lilting Betts composition “Blue Sky”, again distinguished by those guitars which were, this time, in the service of perfect lyrics delivered in the author’s own distinctive voice. I liked Gregg’s mournfully beautiful “Melissa” and Duane’s sweet instrumental “Little Martha”, but I loved “Blue Sky”. When I connected the melodicism, lyricism, and guitar virtuosity of “Reed” and “Sky” to THE SAME GUY, ABB became, for me, the Forrest Richard “Dickey” Betts Band Featuring Duane and Gregg Allman.

    That was PRIOR to Brothers and Sisters. So when that next album yielded the lyrical and instrumental perfection of the radio hit “Ramblin’ Man” and blast-of-joy “Jessica”, the latter much later called “a true national heirloom” by the Wall Street Journal (2006), it seemed — to me in September of ’73 — artistically inevitable with or without Duane. This was my guy, the band’s true resident genius, steppin’ out in front and taking it to the next level. His “Southbound” is terrific. I’ve since learned to appreciate the quieter “Pony Boy”, another Betts gem from Brothers and Sisters, its author on dobro, as an overlooked country standard. No surprise. My man Forrest writes jazz-blues-rock-country American standards. He himself is an American treasure in whose company Hank Williams and Charlie Parker might have felt equally at home.

  16. The Allman Brothers were a great band. Loved them, saw them many times & enjoyed the latter version of the band. Great concerts, great times. Each member brought their unique, great skills making the band whole. Dicky Betts contributions were immeasurable. Masterpieces like In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, Les Bres in A Minor, Jessica, Blue Skies, High Falls, Crazy Love, True Gravity, Nobody Knows just to name a few. He also kept the band together after Duane’s death. He absolutely killed it live. I believe he still remains under appreciated when you measure his actual contribution to the band, to it’s sound.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts

New to Glide

Keep up-to-date with Glide