Gregg Allman: 20 Essential Songs

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

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"Melissa" (1972)

Dating back to his pre-Allman days in the band 31st of February, "Melissa" was so mellow that Gregg didn't show it to the Allmans for years; it only resurfaced when the band needed additional songs for Eat a Peach. (Given how much Duane had loved the song, it was also a nod to him.) Yet the combination of strummed acoustic chords and Gregg's vocal warmth is a natural for the band, making it an immediate Allmans gem. Gregg struggled with a woman's name for the song until he visited a grocery store and heard a mother yell out to her wandering daughter, "Oh, Melissa, come back!"

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