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My Cross to Bear Hardcover – May 1, 2012

464 customer reviews

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A Q&A with Gregg Allman

Q: Why did you want to write this book and tell your story?

Allman: I’d actually been thinking about doing a book for a long time, and since the 80s, I’d been putting bits and pieces of the story together. Just a bit here a bit there, that sort of thing. There have been a few books about the Allman Brothers over the year, and they all seem to tell one of two stories—either we were all out there sowing our wild oats, or we were constantly surrounded by tragedy. None of them really got the feeling of the band right, and that was what I set out to do.

Q: What impact have your health struggles over the last few years had on the way you think about your life and history?

Allman: Well, as I said, I’ve been working on this book for a while, but my health being what it has been over the last couple of years gave me an extra push to get the whole story down on paper. Last fall I was pretty sick, and I had this thought that it just wasn’t my time yet. I’ve still got more songs in me, more stories to tell. I guess this is one of ‘em.

Q: Was it hard to make yourself think about the darker times in your life?

Allman: It was. I wanted to be as honest as I could, but at the same time, looking back like this was tough. Facing the past isn’t easy. I threw down though, and didn’t hold back. I didn’t want anything colored up.

Q: What do you hope an Allman Brothers fan would learn about you from this book?

Allman: As I said before, for years, when people have talked about the band, they’ve tended to focus on the tragedy or the insanity of our history. Make no mistake, those are in the book and they’re very real. But a lot of people don’t understand just how much fun we had—especially in the beginning. I tried hard to include the good as well as the bad.

Q: Has spending this time looking back at the band's history given you a different appreciation for what the Allman Brothers have accomplished?

Allman: I’m not so sure it’s a different appreciation so much as just amazed and proud that we’re still here today. In the book, I talk about when my brother first called me about being in the band he said he had these two drummers and two lead guitarists, and I remember thinking that sounded like a train wreck. But somehow it worked then and it’s worked ever since. It’s an incredible band, filled with incredible musicians, and I’ve been very lucky to be a part of it.

Q: Do you think that your kids will learn about you from reading this story? How about your bandmates?

Allman: Sometimes when you’re on the road with someone, it’s easy to lose sight of just how far you’ve come. I’ve lived with these stories for a long time, but having them together, all in one place, is something else. Everyone always takes something different away from what they read. I can’t say what people will learn, but my hope is they have some fun along the way.

Review

…This book is everything you could hope for: in a grizzled, laconic drawl, Allman provides a rambling backstage account of his five decades with the Allman Brothers Band, and he doesn’t seem to hold anything back. (New York Times Book Review)

A soul-searching rumination on a hard-lived life... For generations of fans, Allman’s book provides insights into the many turns in that long road... MY CROSS TO BEAR carries a welcome seal of honesty. (USA Today)

In his memoir, the rambling and rambunctious Gregg Allman lays bare his soul… In the end, Allman, writing with music journalist Light, has produced a fiercely honest memoir. (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

This is a story about musical brotherhood. Rich and moving... Nothing less than profound. Life, love and music from one of the most influential American recording artists of the last 40 years. (Kirkus Reviews)

“Packed with juicy anecdotes, gripping details and raw energy…Fans of the Allman Brothers Band are certain to relish the revelations... MY CROSS TO BEAR provides a window into Allman’s tortured soul - he presents himself as a man cracked and flawed, yet somehow intact.” (Birmingham News)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 390 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062112031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062112033
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (464 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

One of the founding members of the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman has been making music for almost fifty years, and during that time he has recorded some of the most iconic songs in American rock. Inducted into of the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, Gregg Allman continues to make music as a solo artist and tour with the Allman Brothers Band. He lives in Georgia.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This memoir written by Allman with the help of Alan Light, takes in all the important periods and changes, both good and bad, in Allman's life. The many photographs (mostly b&w some color) are both interesting and add depth to Allman's writing. The end papers are pretty cool too. Reading portions of this book brought back some good memories of seeing the ABB live, when both Duane Allman and Berry Oakley were alive. Once the band started a tune, they were an unstoppable juggernaut, capable of taking a song anywhere-and they did. They were a true band-everyone was an equal-and they played their a*#es off. I wish someone would collect all the tracks by the Allman Joys, Hourglass (both albums) and the 31/st of February, into one neat box set. That would be pretty cool.

The death of Gregg Allman's brother, Duane, and it's effect on Allman, runs all through this book. Basically, after writing about early family life (he doesn't like to be called Gregg-rather Gregory) and their early bands, the story really begins in Los Angeles, after the brother's bands Allman Joys (there's a photograph of that band which is a good example of the intensity of Duane's playing, at the head of Chapter Three) and the later Hourglass, has come apart, Allman learns that Duane is back in Florida, putting together ("Two drummers? Sounds like a train wreck". G.A.) a band. Needing a songwriter/vocalist, Gregg hitchhikes back to Florida to meet, and subsequently jam with the boys. Something clicks, and soon Duane surprises Gregg with a new Hammond B3 organ-along with a few very fat "cigarettes".

From that point Allman writes about their search for a band name (Gregg wanted Beelzebub), with the majority of the band settling on the Allman Brothers Band.
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186 of 222 people found the following review helpful By Tom Premtaj on June 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have to say with great reluctance I was deeply let down with this book. I first saw the Allman Brothers at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey at the age of 12 right before Duane died ..I was completely floored by them and became a huge fan as I entered my teens.. Their music has been a cornerstone of my musical life and defining theme for my childhood. This book which I was very looking forward to confused and saddened me..It is very long on personal detail that seems to make excuses for self absorbed behavior and very short on letting the reader in on how the music was created (which is why I was reading the book.There seemed to be lots of excuses for things that were obviously insensitive and reckless (going on vacation when Oakley died, hurting so many women) His recounting of his experience with his first wife made me cringe. He talks about wimps that hand out money to their wives versus manlike him who walk their own path.. The problem is that i have a hard time believing in Gregg's legitimacy when he himself admits he was sleeping with 3 to 5 women a night at the same time. Maybe his wife wasn't trying to change him as much as she was trying to figure out his depraved narcissism and obsession with drugs. I also found it hard to believe that he offered Jenny Arness anything other than a sex act and drugs. While she was obviously troubled I don't think the sympathetic portrait he paints of himself and the excuse he makes for not going to her funeral has anything to do with the reality of the situation. That all being said I was truly hoping to read much less about his sexual conquests and his drug use and much more about the soul of the band.Read more ›
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Vault Productions on June 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have read a lot of books about my favorite bands, some are so poorly written I could not finish them. This book is super, really keeps your attention all the way. I felt like he was talking to me as I read this. Very down to Earth man from the South. I live in the south and can relate to a lot of what he was talking about. I really learned a lot about the ABB. Been a fan for a long time. I love the current band and will will see them soon in GA. Duane Allman is a legend to us all, he was a good brother to Gregg. Any fan will enjoy this book. I'm going to plan a trip to the museum in Macon some day. Gregg does not hold back, he tells it like it is. The drugs, booze and wives have taken its toll on this man and he is still hitting the note.
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34 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Gary L. Tucker on May 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a really good book about what I consider the best America has had to offer in the world of music. I have been a rabid Allman Brothers fan for 40 years. I got around to buying their Fillmore East album in 1972 after connecting the dots between Claptons Layla, and Duane Allman. Gregory goes into a very personal account of the dynamics that contributed to the music, which is evidently the most important thing in these guys lives. It helps me better understand Duane Allman, Dicky Betts, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks, Jaimoe, and especially Gregory Allman. Gregg has stated that with all the other books, and speculation, some dwelling on the darker side, that he wanted to tell his stories with their humor. The dark side is there, but there is some funny as heck stuff too. It helps to explain the friction that ended up with Dicky Betts out of the band. He goes through his marriages with some really good, funny stuff. In the end he's found peace in the world, and is TRULY, an Enlightened Rogue.
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