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Forrest Richard "Dickey" Betts (born December 12, 1943) is an Americanmarker guitarist, singer, and songwriter, most known for his work as a founding member, with Duane Allman, of the southern blues/rock group The Allman Brothers Band. Dickey Betts was ranked #58 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list in 2003.


Born in Bradentonmarker, Floridamarker, Betts's early experience was leading a band called The Second Coming, before he and other Florida area musicians met, jammed, and formed The Allman Brothers Band in 1969. Betts was the band's second lead guitarist, behind Duane Allman, and contributed significantly to their trademark dual lead guitar sound. He also wrote songs including "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and "Blue Sky" that became radio and concert staples.

After the death of Duane Allman in late 1971, Betts became the band's sole guitarist, and also took on a greater singing and leadership role. He went on to write such Southern Rock classics as "Jessica", and the Allmans' biggest commercial hit, "Ramblin' Man".

Jessica was inspired by his daughter, Jessica Betts, who was born on May 14, 1972 to Sandy Bluesky Wabegijig, a Native American whom Betts married in 1973. Sandy was his first wife. They were divorced in 1975 and Betts married his second wife, Paulette, who is a close friend and personal assistant of singer and actress Cher.

Betts's first solo album, Highway Call, was released in 1974, and featured the late fiddle player Vassar Clements. After the Allmans fell apart in 1976, Betts released more albums, starting with Dickey Betts & Great Southern in 1977, which featured the hit "Bougainvillea," which he co-wrote with actor Don Johnson , with whom he had worked earlier on with the song Ramblin' Man from the Brothers and Sisters album. In 1978 he released an album entitled "Atlanta's Burning Down".

The Allman Brothers reformed in 1979 for the album "Enlightened Rogues" with a new guitar player (Dan Toler) and a new bassist (David Goldflies). Several albums would follow in the 80s with various personnel changes. The reunion brought Betts back together with founding Allman Brothers members Gregg Allman, Butch Trucks, and Jai "Jaimoe" Johanny Johanson. The band was augmented in the late 80s by Warren Haynes, as slide guitarist and lead guitarist, Allen Woody on bass and Johnny Neel on keyboards, (though Neel left after several tours). This lineup of the band went on to release three acclaimed studio albums, with Betts, Allman and Haynes serving as the primary songwriters, as well as several popular live albums throughout the early 1990s.

Attendance issues and temporary bandmates

Betts had to be replaced on numerous tour dates throughout the mid- 90s for "personal reasons". Among the artists to appear in place of Betts were Jimmy Herring (in 1993 and again in 2000), Zakk Wylde, Jack Pearson and David Grissom. John Popper of Blues Traveler also sat in with the Allman Brothers in Betts' absence.

While The Allman Brothers Band continued to play acclaimed live shows during the 1990s, they failed to release an album of new material following 1994's Where It All Begins. Haynes and Woody formed Gov't Mule with drummer Matt Abts (formerly of Dickey Betts solo projects) as a side project in 1994 and left the Allman Brothers for Gov't Mule full-time following the ABB's annual Beacon Run in March 1997. Haynes and Woody did not associate with the Allman Brothers Band on stage again until after Betts' departure in 2000, though they shared the stage with Gregg Allman on several occasions with Gov't Mule.

The remaining original members, Allman, Trucks and Jaimoe, suspended Betts (reportedly via fax) prior to the launch of the band's Summer Campaign Tour 2000. Betts was temporarily replaced for that tour by Jimmy Herring, formerly of the Aquarium Rescue Unit. Warren Haynes also appeared with the Allmans at three shows after Betts' suspension for the first time in over three years.

Betts quickly filed suit against the other three original Allmans and the separation turned into a permanent divorce (Haynes permanently replaced him following a stand with the band at the Beacon Theatre in March 2001). Betts quickly formed the Dickey Betts Band in 2000 and toured that summer. He now tours under the name Dickey Betts & Great Southern and recently added his son, Duane Betts, on lead guitar.

In 2005 Betts released the live DVD "Live from the Rock and Roll Hall of Famemarker".

In the early days of the Allman Brothers, Betts played a 1961 Gibson SG, which he gave to Duane Allman in 1971 to use as an all-slide guitar, and then started to use a 1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop. Betts became famous for using a Goldtop, naming it "Goldie". He has recently painted it red. He has also been seen playing Fender Stratocasters occasionally, and has been an on-and-off endorser and player of PRS guitars. As of April 2009, Betts is using a red Fender Telecaster with a pearloid pickguard.

The style of Betts' first name varied throughout the years:
  • 1969: "Dick Betts" in the jacket of The Allman Brothers Band self-titled album.
  • 1970-72: "Dicky Betts" in the jackets of Idlewild South and Eat A Peach.
  • 1973-74: "Richard Betts" on Brothers and Sisters and his first solo album, Highway Call.
  • Afterward: "Dickey Betts."


Solo Albums

  • Highway Call (1974)(Richard Betts)
  • Dickey Betts & Great Southern (1977) (Dickey Betts & Great Southern)
  • Atlanta's Burning Down (1978) (Dickey Betts & Great Southern)
  • Night (Unreleased Country Album) (1982) (Dickey Betts)
  • Pattern Disruptive (1989) (Dickey Betts Band)
  • Let's Get Together (2001) (Dickey Betts Band)
  • The Collectors #1 (2002) (Dickey Betts & Great Southern)
  • Back Where It All Begins: Live at the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame & Museum (DVD) (2005) (Dickey Betts & Great Southern)
  • The Official Bootleg (Live) (2006) (Dickey Betts & Great Southern)


External links

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