With a Top 40 singles chart entry and what turned out to be their only No.1 US album, the Allman Brothers Band had a strong claim to be America’s hottest group of early September 1973.
“Ramblin’ Man” made its, and the band’s, first appearance in the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of September 8, 1973. But over on the album countdown, even bigger things were happening. Brothers and Sisters, which had entered the chart just two weeks before, completed its climb to the top, taking over from Jethro Tull’s A Passion Play. And there it would stay for five impressive weeks, until the Rolling Stones took the crown with Goats Head Soup.
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The Allmans’ self-titled debut album of 1969 had become their first US chart appearance in January of the following year, but only at a modest No.188. Later in 1970, Idlewild South fared much better, at No. 38, before the band’s reputation as a live phenomenon ensured a No.13 showing for 1971’s At Fillmore East set.
Platinum for Capricorn
1972’s studio/live hybrid Eat A Peach, created during the time of Duane Allman’s tragic death, then went to No.4. It poignantly paved the way for the triumph of Brothers and Sisters, released by Capricorn and produced by the band with Johnny Sandlin. Adorned with a front cover image of Brittany Oakley, the daughter of Allmans bassist Berry Oakley and his wife Linda, it became not just their only No.1 but, after Eat A Peach, their second platinum seller in a row.
Concurrently with the Brothers and Sisters sessions, vocalist, keyboard player and rhythm guitarist Gregg Allman was working on what would be his first solo album, Laid Back. Released soon afterwards in November 1973, Gregg’s set would climb to No.13 and go gold. Perhaps surprisingly, although Brothers and Sisters did give the southern rock giants their UK chart debut, it only reached No.42 there.
In the month of their chart victories with Brothers and Sisters and “Ramblin’ Man,” the Allman Brothers Band played at the Los Angeles Forum. They performed until 2am, with Melody Maker’s Chris Charlesworth writing that they could have carried on all night. As he put it: “No American band will ever sound like Zeppelin or The Who; no English band will ever sound like the Allmans.”
Brothers and Sisters can be bought here.
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