Friday, August 17, 1973

Allman Brothers Band “Ramblin’ Man” charted

Ramblin’ Man

Allman Brothers Band

Writer(s): Dickey Betts (see lyrics here)

First Charted: August 17, 1973

Peak: 2 BB, 11 CB, 11 GR, 2 HR, 2 RR, 12 AC, 1 CL, 7 CN, 40 AU, 6 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 7.2 video, 214.77 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Duane Allman was one of rock’s most celebrated guitarists. When he was killed in a motorcycle accident at 24, it was understandable that people wondered how the Allman Brothers Band could soldier on without him. However, they translated their mix of rock, country, jazz, and blues into being one of the signature Southern rock groups who’ve been hailed for the improvisational stage jams and “double-guitar harmony.” MM

Their biggest hit, “Ramblin’ Man,” came courtesy guitarist Dickey Betts “who leaned very strongly towards country” TC and here served up a liquid tone and a shuffle beat [that was] simple and seamless” DM with a vocal that “is two parts B.B. King and one part George Jones.” DM This is “probably the closest real blues slide guitar has come to topping the chart.” DM

Betts said he carried the line “I bet you’re just tryin’ to make a livin’ and doin’ the best you can” around in his head for three years. It was a friend’s comment in 1969 about how he imagined Betts was doing with his music. MM When he finally sat down to write the song in 1973, he said, “the words came fast, like I was writing a letter.” MM Although it was a completely different song, this “was rooted around an old Hank Williams number [of the same name from 1951] about traveling the world and taking life as it comes.” DT

It was released on the band’s Brothers and Sisters album, the first without Duane. It was also the last to feature bassist Berry Oakley, who – after a year of struggling with depression and substance abuse brought on by Duane’s death – also died in a motorocycle accident before the album’s release.

“Ramblin’ Man” “stands alongside Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ as one of the definitive Southern rock songs. It’s an amiable, laid-back tune, falling halfway between blues-rock and country-rock, graced with wonderful guitar harmonies. The Allmans could rock much harder than this, but that was the record’s charm – it was easy and friendly, with all the charm of a breezy summer’s day.” AMG “The refrain that bookends the chorus is perhaps the catchiest and prettiest hook in all of Southern rock.” AMG


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First posted 9/12/2023.

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