Gregg Allman's most visible contribution to rock music is as lead singer, organist, and songwriter within the Allman Brothers Band, founded by his brother Duane (d. 1971) in 1969. He has never threatened to eclipse the band that carries his family name, but he has found occasional success and popularity with his solo work, which is distinctly different, more soulful and less focused on high- wattage virtuosity.
Allman's instrument is the organ, and he is most effective, when he is in top form, as a singer. His first instrument, ironically enough, was the guitar, and he took it up before his older brother Duane did. But Duane learned it better and quickly eclipsed Gregg. Where Gregg did excel was on the organ and as a singer (a role Duane was never comfortable with), which proved important but not at the center of a group that became famous for its 40-minute instrumental jams and three-hour sets. Through their early efforts, in bands like the Allman Joys and the Hour Glass, they shared the spotlight, with Duane taking the lengthy solos and Gregg fronting the band and offering Booker T. Jones- type keyboard playing. Liberty Records signed the Hour Glass and tried making Gregg into the focus of their efforts during the late '60s, but it never quite worked.
When the Allman Brothers Band was organized, the flashy (and vital) instrumental moments belonged to his brother and Dickey Betts and, later still, Warren Haynes. Gregg's songs, however, including Whipping Post and Midnight Rider, were among the group's notable originals during its classic period, 1969-1972. Beginning with Brothers and Sisters, Betts' songwriting and singing assumed increasing prominence.