Gregg Allman, frontman for the legendary Allman Brothers Band, has signed with William Morrow to bring his untitled memoir to print in spring 2012.
Rock memoirs have been a hot category for publishers the last several years. The announcement comes two days after The Who guitarist Pete Townshend signed with HarperCollins (which also owns William Morrow) and on the heels of bestsellers by Steven Tyler, Sammy Hagar and Keith Richards.
Allman’s book was on the shortlist of great unwritten rock memoirs. William Morrow describes the project as an “unflinching” look at his life. In a statement announcing the deal, Allman said, “When I got out of high school, I thought, I’ll take a year or two off and play the clubs, get this out of my system and then go to med school. More than 40 years later, I figure it’s finally time to write about this crazy journey that’s taken me around the world and back.”
Allman founded the Allman Brothers Band in 1969 with his brother Duane, Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks and Jai Johanny Johanson. The band’s first three albums — The Allman Brothers Band, Idlewild South and At Fillmore East — were huge hits that made southern rock a national sensation.
Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident in Macon, Ga., in October 1971. The band continued on, releasing Eat a Peach in 1972. But in November 1972, Berry Oakley died in a motorcycle crash not far from the site of Duane’s death. The band broke up in 1976, and though it re-formed several times in the ensuing decades, nothing else matched the magic of those first few years.
Gregg Allman had a successful solo career, but his personal life dominated the headlines. He battled drug addiction and was arrested several times for it. His 1975 marriage to Cher turned him into a tabloid sensation (satirized in Doonesbury). They had one son together, Elijah Blue Allman (Allman has four other children). Allman grew sick of living in Los Angeles and tired of the way Cher courted media attention, so they split up in 1979.
Allman continued to tour both as a solo act and with versions of the Allman Brothers Band in the ’80s and ’90s. His biggest solo hit was 1987’s I’m No Angel, which sold more than 500,000 copies. In 2007, he was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and in 2010 had a successful liver transplant.
William Morrow senior vp and director of creative development Lisa Sharkey, who acquired the book, said: “If ever there was a musician with a devoted fan base and an incredible life story to tell, Gregg Allman is the one. This memoir truly has it all.”
Allman was repped Frank Weimann of the Literary Group and his manager, Michael Lehman.