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Extended Audio Sample My Cross to Bear Audiobook, by Gregg Allman Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.0020942408377 out of 53.0020942408377 out of 53.0020942408377 out of 53.0020942408377 out of 53.0020942408377 out of 5 3.00 (955 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gregg Allman, Alan Light Narrator: Will Patton Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2012 ISBN: 9780062116178
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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 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A New York Times bestseller
  • A 2013 Audie Award Finalist for Biography/Memoir

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Randy | 2/16/2014

    " Confirms that the man is a redneck degenerate. Comes through loud and clear on that point! However, it is an interesting journey he has somehow survived. Good rants throughout on Cher, other ex-wives, other musicians and especially Dickey Betts. His "cross to bear" is apparently having to keep returning to work with Betts, who he clearly hates with a passion (and vice-versa). On the heels of reading "Talk Show" by Dick Cavett, this was especially down and dirty...and entertaining, in a greasy way. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rex McCulloch | 2/11/2014

    " Better-than-average rock autobio. Gregory manages to give us some idea of how the music sounds and how it was made, in addition to the sexndrugs. A hardheaded sumbuck, but boy he's had a life. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melanie | 2/10/2014

    " Not the best written book, but some really interesting information about the origin of songs, and numerous band members. A bit sad going thru all of Greggs' addiction issues, but comes out on the bright side by the end. If you love the Allman Brothers Band as I do, this is a good read, even with the 2 star rating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole | 2/5/2014

    " 3 and a half really "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brenda Wegner | 2/2/2014

    " Goes on a little too long--kind of like Mountain Jam. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deborah Peel | 1/25/2014

    " Thoroughly enjoyed Gregg's transparency and a little sip of southern hospitality. Filled with honest, sad, fun, crazy, emotional stories that collectively present a life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/19/2014

    " Very easy to read, a bit light and superficial, really. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diego | 1/18/2014

    " This is a great autobiography so far. I just opened it up and I'm glued to the pages. You don't have to be an Allman Brothers freak to enjoy the complexities and struggles growing up without a father in the 50's and sixties (but it helps). Written by Greg himself it is a rough, etched romp through the rivers of his memories, to steal a John Hartford line. Really enjoying it. Highly recommended. Great book. Ends up sounding a little bit sociopathic but still lovable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dayna | 1/12/2014

    " Love this book and can't put it down !! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wendy Burge | 1/4/2014

    " I don't think I have ever called anyone cool in my life but Gregory is one cool cat! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Glen | 12/27/2013

    " Loved this book. It read like a conversation with Gregg Allman, kudos to the co-writer. Well done. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lane | 12/22/2013

    " This was a fairly easy read. Nothing here is fantastic writing and it slows down a little toward the end, but if you like the Allman Brothers it has some good history and fun stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gary | 12/10/2013

    " An account of one of the legendary bands in the history of rock. Greg holds nothing back. Fascinating subject, equally fascinating author. I couldn't put it down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dennis Willingham | 12/9/2013

    " Not up to the literary level of Keith Richards memoir, but interesting. Written in too folksey a way for me, but extremely interesting because I lived in Macon during the Allmon Brother's rise. Learned a lot about one of my favorite bands. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nadine Haney | 11/15/2013

    " It's the usual things dealing with musicians that you hear about. Drugs, booze and sex. But, how he told it was interesting. How his brother's death changed him. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patti | 9/18/2013

    " This was really well written. I have always been a huge fan of The Allman Brothers and Greg Allman. Loved this history and the peek into his life. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jean | 8/30/2013

    " not sure why I read this book to the end, not sure why it was written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy | 2/15/2013

    " Thought the Keith Richards autobiography was more insightful. You come away from this book with the feeling Gregg Allman is a very lonely man. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robb | 1/30/2013

    " Tells it like it is, with lots of cool stories of the forming of the Allman Brothers Band. Even more frank are his descriptions of his alcoholism and his love of his brother, who died long ago. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bob Cook | 1/13/2013

    " I'm finished with this book, even though I didn't finish! Hoping to get some insights into the man and his music, they must have been hidden among the "shit" and "fuck" that permeates just about every sentence of dialogue. But it's worth a try, and you might find it more interesting than I did. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bonita | 11/15/2012

    " Good Read. I love the Allman Brothers so I was interested. Not too self indulgent "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stevenr | 11/4/2012

    " Three and a half stars....... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melinda Hansell | 8/30/2012

    " I won't be finishing it. I've enjoyed other musicians biographies including Ozzy and Clapton. I enjoyed the fact that he wrote presumably like he speaks, but the amount I read was frankly boring. It was worth a try but not worth finishing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff Holton | 6/3/2012

    " I am not a huge Allman Brothers fan but Gregg Allman's autobiography was a pretty good read. It's the typical rock star bio (drugs, booze, women & money problems) but ends on a fairly positive note. The author seems to have pulled his life together and shares his adventure for all to read. "

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About the Narrator

Will Patton is an award-winning actor and narrator. HIs narration of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep earned the prestigious Audie Award for Best Fiction Narration in 2014. He has also won dozens of AudioFile Earphones Awards for his narrations. He starred in the TNT miniseries Into the West and on the CBS series The Agency and won Obie Awards in the theater for his performances in Fool for Love and What Did He See. He has appeared in a host of films, including A Mighty Heart with Angelina Jolie, Knucklehead, Brooklyn’s Finest, and Dog Days of Summer. His many television credits include The Agency, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, 24, and Numb3rs.