May 22, 2024

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Dickey Betts, singer, songwriter and guitarist for the Allman Brothers Band, dies aged 80: Video, Photo

The Southern blues – rock pioneer wrote and sang the band’s biggest hit, “Ramblin’ Man.” Dickey Betts, the highly iconic singer, songwriter and guitarist for the Allman Brothers Band, has died at the age of 80. Rolling Stone reported that Betts’ cause of death was cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, per the late artist’s manager David Spero.

A statement confirms, “It is with profound sadness and heavy hearts that the Betts family announce the peaceful passing of Forrest Richard ‘Dickey’ Betts (December 12, 1943 – April 18, 2024) at the age of 80 years old. The legendary performer, songwriter, bandleader and family patriarch passed away earlier today at his home in Osprey, FL., surrounded by his family.”

Continuing, “Dickey was larger than life, and his loss will be felt world-wide. At this difficult time, the family asks for prayers and respect for their privacy in the coming days.”

Born Forrest Richard Betts, he grew up in the Bradenton, Florida, area. He left home at 16 and joined the circus to play in a band. Betts co-founded Allman Brothers Band in 1969 along with brothers Duane and Gregg Allman, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks and Jaimoe Johanson, with the self-titled debut released that same year. He played lead guitar in addition to writing and singing lead on such classics as “Ramblin’ Man” and “Blue Sky.”

He composed the band’s instrumental tunes which include favorites “Jessica” and “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” Betts would later focus on a solo career as well as forming other bands like Great Southern; Betts, Hall, Leavell and Trucks; and the Dickey Betts Band.

As a member of the Allman Brothers Band, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Drummer Jaimoe Johanson remains the last living co-founder.

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