Gregg Allman outlived his brother, Duane, by 46 years.
The famed leader of the Allman Brothers band died this week at age 69 after surviving drug and alcohol addiction and related health problems from decades of hard living.
His brother Duane was enshrined among the illustrious rock and roll martyrs, killed in 1971 in a motorcycle crash in Macon, Ga., at the age of 24. Duane's piercing slide guitar was a among rock's defining sounds.
After Duane's death, and that of bass player Berry Oakley in an similar accident, Gregg persevered, overcoming career downturns, band disputes such as the fallout with Duane's guitar partner Dickie Betts, changes in musical tastes, and his body giving out.
While the band was known for its instrumental brilliance, reaching for jazz complexity with improvisations and lengthy solos, Gregg's voice made the Allmans' sound, echoing the blues, old-time Tin Pan Alley, country, early rock and rhythm and blues.
Those who came of age in the South when the Allmans streaked to their early fame considered them part of the family. We liked the Beatles, the Stones and the Beach Boys, but those bands sang about experiences removed from ours, although not that much different. We understood the male world of which they sang.
But like us, the Allmans knew the heat and humidity of small Southern towns, restless warm nights waiting for the faint stirring of a breeze, the long tedium of country roads, the places outside the city limits where the beer was cold and the jukebox loaded. The Allmans' music felt rawer, closer to how we lived.
Now Gregg is gone, joining his brother among the rock immortals.