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Rock stars react to the death of Allman Brothers’ Dickey Betts at 80

Dickey Betts

Classic Rock

Rock stars react to the death of Allman Brothers’ Dickey Betts at 80

The longtime Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dickey Betts passed away at the age of 80 after a long battle with cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was born in West Palm Beach, Florida in 1943 and started his musical career in 1960. He helped to form the Allman Brothers band in 1969 and in 1971, after Duane tragically died in a motorcycle accident, he became the band’s lead guitarist.


He was a member of the group from 1969 to 2000, when he was ousted from the band after a conflict regarding alcohol and drug abuse. After the news of his death was shared, many Rock stars paid their tribute to Betts. Rock and Roll Garage compiled some of those.

Rock stars react to the death of the Allman Brothers guitarist Dickey Betts at the age 80

Allman Brothers Band

“With deep sadness the Allman Brothers Band learned today that founding member Dickey Betts has passed away peacefully in his home in Sarasota, Florida, following a period of declining health.”

Slash (Guns N’ Roses)

“RIP #Dickey Betts”

Warren Haynes (Gov’t Mule)

“RIP Dickey Betts – not sure what to say. Such a huge loss. Not only for our musical family, but for the world of music in general. Aside from being a huge, major influence on my music from before I picked up a guitar, Dickey was the one person I credit for everything amazing that happened in my career. As I have stated many times, I was a huge Allman Brothers fan from the very beginning. My oldest brother had the first album in 1969 and it got a ton of play around our house.”

“By the time the Live at Fillmore East record came out in 1971, I was just starting to play guitar and that was with without question the album that influenced me and all my young guitar playing friends the most. We would all listen to it for hours on end, day in and day out. It was a moment and time. What a beautiful gift to up and coming guitar players who might want to travel down that road of improvisation and melding influences. The way he and Duane Allman played together was a thing of beauty and glory. Dickey’s style was a combination of all his diverse influences filtered through his personality and what came out was a joyous sound that would directly or indirectly influence all related music to come.”

“Listening as a kid I had no idea that one day our paths would cross and that he would become a mentor to me. In addition to being the huge influence and inspiration that he had been for years, he was also a presence that loomed larger than life. I started playing with the Dickey Betts Band around 1986 and when he recruited me to be the other guitar player and the slide guitar player in his band, it was the ultimate compliment. I’ll never forget speaking to him on the phone when he called to offer me the job. It was one of those “pinch me” moments in my life, but I had no way of knowing what a heavy moment it would prove to be.”

He continued:

“After playing in Dickey’s band for 2 1/2 years, I got the call to join my favorite band of all time, The Allman Brothers Band. No one knew at that time that they were considering reforming, so it came as a shock to me. We all signed on to do what we thought was only gonna be a reunion tour for the band’s 20th anniversary to support the Dreams box set. Not myself or anyone else ever imagined that it would turn into what it did and I wound up spending 25 years of my life life as a member of my favorite band.”

“As I’ve also said many times, when I think of the Allman Brothers Band, I automatically think of the original band with Duane Allman and Berry Oakley, who unfortunately passed way too soon, and although I’m extremely proud of my work with the band, that will always be the case. Dickey Betts and I created a lot of great music together and what I took from him was a major contribution in my life. It did not take long once I joined his band to realize, standing next to him with that beautiful tone, that I had a lot to work to do on both with my tone and with my style. It was amazingly intimidating to stand there night after night realizing how far I had to go. He threw me in the lake and I had to learn to swim. I am forever grateful for that “once in a lifetime” opportunity. Thanks Dickey.-WH”.

Joe Bonamassa

“Rest in Peace.. My first concert was Dickey Betts at Coleman’s in Rome, New York in 1983. Blew my mind and made me want a Les Paul. My thoughts and prayers go out to Duane and the entire Betts family.”



“It’s with profound sadness we share the news of Dickey Betts passing. Dickey more than anyone had an impressionable impact in shaping and defining the genre of music that has come to be known as southern rock. The influence of his musicianship and songwriting skills are immeasurable, and his passing marks the end of an era. It’s with the utmost respect and sadness that we share our condolences with his family and loved ones.”

Marshall Tucker Band

“We just heard the news of the passing of Dickey Betts, a legend and our longtime brother. We send our love and sympathy to his family. The memories hit me hard this morning after learning of his passing.”

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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