Gregg Allman: 20 Essential Songs

Southern rock pioneer fused country blues with San Francisco-style extended improvisation, creating a template for countless jam bands

"It's Not My Cross to Bear" (1969)

The first Allman vocal on the first Allmans album starts out perfectly, with a throaty roar. One of the earliest songs he showed to his bandmates (and written when Gregg was in L.A. and hanging out with future members of Poco), this slow-blues declaration of independence from a bad relationship sets the bar high. Sounding wise beyond his years (he was only 22), Allman alternates between toughness and tenderness in the same song.