My Cross to Bear is the memoir of Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers who were the inspiration for Cameron Crowe's film, Almost Famous. Filled with tales of debauchery and musical fervor, My Cross to Bear details Allman's life from his early years to the present. Greg Allman and his brother Duane were born in Nashville and started performing early in a band called the Allman Joys. Duane was a talented guitarist, ranked second only to Jimi Hendrix by Rolling Stone magazine. Unfortunately, he was killed in a motorcycle accident right after the Allman Brothers released their third album. So Gregg's life bears the marks of two tragic deaths, the first one being the senseless shooting of his father by someone he had just met in a bar.
Aside from the tragedy though, Allman's life has been one big party with copious drug and alcohol abuse; he estimates that he went to rehab eighteen times. Sometimes, while touring, he would sleep with four or five women in the same hotel in one night. They would be in different rooms and once Allman was done with one, he would just say "I'll be right back" and disappear. Of his six marriages, three were before the age of thirty. His third wife was Cher of whom he says, "she smelled like I imagine a mermaid would smell."
Although this memoir delves deep into the rock star lifestyle of which Allman eventually says, "I don't know if I'd do it again," it's also about the music and Allman's passion for it. There are tips here for budding musicians, such as how leaning your head back before belting it out preserves your vocal chords, and matching the bridge to the final verse is the key to songwriting.
Overall, this is a heartfelt memoir written in Allman's distinctive tone and gives the impression of someone rolling with the punches. Allman's charm lies in taking whatever life throws at him and dealing with it, whether it's stardom or drug addiction.
Gregg Allman was born in Nashville, Tennessee, as was his older brother Duane. The two brothers got interested in music early and started performing, eventually forming The Allman Brothers Band. After Duane died in a motorcycle accident, Gregg continued his solo career which has been more blues-inspired. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2006. He has been ranked among the top 100 Greatest Singers of all Time by Rolling Stone magazine.
Alan Light is a well-known music critic who has written for Rolling Stone and been the Editor-in-Chief for Vibe and Spin. He grew up in Cincinnati and went to Yale University where he graduated with a degree in American Studies.
As one of the greatest rock
icons of all time, Gregg Allman has lived it all and then some. For almost
fifty years, he’s been creating some of the most recognizable songs in American
rock, but never before has he paused to reflect on the long road he’s traveled.
Now, he tells the unflinching story of his life, laying bare the unvarnished
truth about his wild ride that has spanned across the years.
The story begins simply: with
Gregg and his older brother, Duane, growing up in the South, raising hell with
their guitars, and drifting from one band to another. But all that changed when
Duane and Gregg came together with four other men to forge something new—a
unique sound shaped by soul, rock, and blues and brimming with experimentation;
a sound not just of a band, but of a family.
Bringing to life the carefree
early days of the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg holds nothing back—from run-ins
with the law to meeting girls on the road, from jamming at the Fillmore East to
experimenting with drugs. Along the way, he goes behind the scenes of some of
the greatest rock music ever recorded, without shying away from the infamous
and painful deaths of his brother, Duane, and Allman Brothers bassist Berry
Oakley. Speaking for the first time about the profound impact that his
brother’s death had on him, Gregg offers a tribute to Duane that only a younger
brother could write, showing how, to this day, he still confronts the grief of
losing his big brother, even as Duane continues to guide and inspire him.
Setting the record straight about
the band’s struggles in the face of death, Gregg shows how the decision to
persevere came with a heavy price. While the rock and roll excesses of drugs,
alcohol, and personality clashes led to a series of breakups that culminated
with the band’s permanent reunion in 1989, Gregg fought his own battle with
substance abuse, going to rehab no less than eleven times and floating through
a string of failed marriages, including his tabloid-frenzied relationship with
Cher, before finally cleaning up once and for all.
Capturing the Allman Brothers’
ongoing, triumphant resurgence as well as his own recent fight against hepatitis
C and featuring over one hundred photos from throughout the band’s history,
Gregg presents a story as honest as it is fascinating, providing a glimpse
inside one of the most beloved and notorious bands in the history of rock music
and demonstrating how, through it all, the road goes on…forever. Download and start listening now!