Twin tragedies nearly consumed the Allman Brothers Band in its early days even as it was bursting out of Macon, Georgia to establish a new genre called 'Southern Rock,' building a resume of Platinum albums and a career that would continue on until 2014. First, band founder Duane Allman perished in a motorcycle crash, hitting a truck on October 29, 1971 at the age of 24. Then a year later on November 11 bassist Berry Oakley also died in a motorcycle crash only three blocks from where his band mate had died. Oakley slammed into a bus and died from cerebral bleeding, also at the age of 24.
It's Berry Oakley's birthday this April 4th. The bassist is buried next to Duane Allman in Macon's Rose Hill Cemetery, where the band used to spend many nights drinking, getting high, and writing songs. These days an iron fence prevents visitors from getting too close, as the grave markers were being regularly defaced by pilgrims. Last year, Brother Gregg Allman was laid to rest just a few feet away. Carter Alan spent time in Macon in 1994, before the fence went up, and offers these photos of the Allman Brothers' Macon for the first time.