Thread: Behind The Song: Gregg Allman, “Queen Of Hearts” - American Songwriter

DerekFromCincinnati - 7/7/2020 at 11:47 AM

Gregg Allman was probably far better known for his one-of-a-kind voice than he was as a songwriter; no less a legend than Charlie Daniels once said, “Gregg Allman is the finest white blues singer I’ve ever heard.” As a member of the Allman Brothers Band, he actually wrote fewer songs than guitarist Dickey Betts, and Betts was responsible for the band’s biggest commercial hit, “Ramblin’ Man.” But some of Allman’s original ABB songs became immortal pieces in the rock pantheon, “Melissa,” “Midnight Rider” and “Whipping Post” among them. Before his 2017 death, he also wrote quite a few songs to support his solo career, which saw sporadic releases over a 40+-year period. One of the best-known is the ballad “Queen of Hearts.” /

cyclone88 - 7/7/2020 at 02:03 PM

Glad the band didn't like it & it launched his solo career. It's been my favorite GA song since it came out. To me, everything is perfect - voice, lyrics, melody, & arrangement.

ManWithNoName - 7/7/2020 at 08:57 PM

“I finally played it for the band and said, ‘Why don’t we just try it?’ And one of them, I won’t say who, said, ‘Well, it just ain’t sayin’ nothin’.’ I was livid. So I got on the first thing smokin’ to Miami and recorded the Laid Back album.”

Gotta be Dickey that said that, right?

blackey - 7/8/2020 at 01:09 AM

The rumor mill back then with the Capricorn promotional guys and some of roadies or soundman who would talk to fans said it was Butch Trucks. Butch had several big blows with Gregg back then and supposedly their relationship was becoming strained the last 5 years the band was together. Butch had a run in with Duane that he would talk about. Butch was going to call a meeting and suggest Berry Oakley be replaced just before he was killed.

Of course Butch had a Dickey problem that went back to 1970 and Elizabeth Reed. Dickey and Butch seemed to be good friends by the time they decided to shelve the Allman Brothers Band in 1982 and swivel over to Betts, Hall, Leavell and Trucks. Butch and Gregg were beginning to get irritated with Dickey by 1996 due to bullying, drugs and drinking. By 2000 Butch became enraged over Dickey. Butch became incredibly steamed over Dickey and it never abated for the rest of his life. Butch despised Dickey apparently. If it were entirely Butch's call, the last lineup would have never played a Dickey song. Butch made it clear on this site and his blog that as soon as they wrote some new instrumentals, the Allman Brothers would never play a song Dickey Betts wrote. By about 2003 and 2004 indeed they were playing shows void of a Dickey song but not all of the shows. Then gradually more and more were being played and Blue Sky returned not long after Butch said the band would never play that song again and later Butch insisted Dickey would not be invited to the 40th anniversary show. The guy with the magazine assumed Dickey would since the theme of the 40th was to invite everyone that had played with Duane Allman. Butch answered "Yes everyone who ever played with Duane including Clapton has been invited except that one. There is too much bad blood for me to get on the stage with him."

But not long it came out Dickey would be invited through his manager and more and more of Dickey's songs were returning to the set list. I've often wondered who had softened on Dickey? Gregg? Warren actually said he spoke up about inviting Dickey to the 40th because how can you claim you are inviting everyone who ever played with Duane Allman and not invite the one who played with Duane the most? Yeah Warren someone didn't realise how silly and childish that would be. Great correction Warren.

KCJimmy - 7/29/2020 at 04:55 PM

“I finally played it for the band and said, ‘Why don’t we just try it?’ And one of them, I won’t say who, said, ‘Well, it just ain’t sayin’ nothin’.’ I was livid. So I got on the first thing smokin’ to Miami and recorded the Laid Back album.”

Gotta be Dickey that said that, right?
It was Butch. Gregg said in an interview, very similar to the one Blackey quotes above, "I won't say his name but his initials are Butch Trucks." I thought that was really funny.

blackey - 7/30/2020 at 01:19 PM

Yes it was Butch Trucks. Apparently it continued as a little bone of contention between Gregg and Butch for the rest of their lives. But not as bad as not getting a writing credit on Liz Reed which got Butch upset again in the 90's when 1969-1979 A Decade of Hits came out selling over 2 million copies and Gregg and Dickey made over a million dollars on that collection of old Capricorn Records songs and Butch got nothing. Somehow by then the Allman Brothers Band got nothing off of record sales of the Capricorn tracks but the writers of the songs did including Duane Allman for Little Martha, Willie McTell for Statesboro Blues. Kim Payne got 5% of Midnight Rider and I'm not sure if Steve Alaimo got half of Melissa. Steve didnt write any of it but Gregg sold him half I think for 500 dollars but eventually Gregg was able to get rid of Steve on publishing for half the song.

Elmore James, Marshall Sehorn and Sonny Boy Williamson 2 are listed for One Way Out. Not sure or can't remember how that is divided up. I think someone said Marshall didn't write any of that song either.

I hope Duane's daughter got the money for Little Martha. Over 2 millions copies of just one song on the album should still be a tidy sum. If that set just had Hot 'Lanta on it, Butch would have gotten 1/6th of one song and perhaps made him feel better. When Butch was mad about Decade of Hits and Liz Reed on his blog, I was one of the ones who asked him if he went to Duane and he said he did and Duane sided with Dickey saying that whoever brings the song to the band gets the writing credit and Butch also said that he and Berry Oakley got cut out of Whipping Post because of Duane. That after Berry Oakley wrote the intro and he (Butch) came up with changes and a new time signature, Whipping Post didnt sound anything like what Gregg brought in. Gregg's originial version was almost a slow ballad.

Don't you imagine Willie McTell's estate has made more money off the Allman Brothers than Wille's actual recordings? A Decade of Hits over 2 million copies, At Fillmore East over 1 million copies, Duane Allman anthology over 600 thousand copies and there is the studio version on Dreams box set which sold over 300 thousand.

blackey - 7/30/2020 at 01:28 PM

Oh I forgot to mention Gregg says in a couple of interviews about Queen of Hearts being rejected for Brothers and Sisters that he was so livid that he caught the first ride he could find to Miami, Florida to record the song and Laid Back but Johnny Sandlin always said Gregg broke into Capricorn in Macon and was trying to make an album and Johnny got Chuck Leavell, Bill Stewart and Cowboy together, discarded what Gregg had on tape and started over.

So it was Macon not Miami.

Must be like Gregg hitchhiking from LA to Jacksonville to join the Allman Brothers when a trusted roadie dropped him off at LAX with a plane ticket Duand had sent...........Or the first time he met and heard Derek Trucks play was when they were in Miami recording Enlighten Rogues ( 1979) Derek was on tour with Clapton in 1979 wasn't he

WaitinForRain - 8/1/2020 at 02:37 AM

Blackey your eternal brokeback manlove for Dickey and your obsession with repeating gossip you weren't present for sure, ad nauseum, turns these threads into predictably boring schoolboy recitations of the same old same old S.

Do you EVER have anything new to add?

blackey - 8/2/2020 at 11:36 AM

That's not damn gossip WaitinForRain. I read GREGG saying that in interviews. I'm not responsible for Gregg mixing up his facts.

What do you mean by "brokeback manlove for Dickey?" Brokeback Mountain? I'm straight and too old to be anything now.

I can't help it if Dickey was more talented and made more money than both of the Trucks, Butch and Derek.

Indeed Dickey wrote the most pleasing and enjoyable song the ABB ever did, Blue Sky.

WaitinForRain - 8/8/2020 at 04:33 AM

It's simple Blanket, I mean Blackey. If you were a guitar player you'd have work put your welcome playing one riff over and over.

You're far more interesting when you don't take every chance to repetitively post your version of ABB history ad nauseum.

Try a few new riffs

blackey - 8/8/2020 at 08:53 PM

My version of ABB history is accurate as far as I know.

When you see my name just skip the post since they anger and bore you. Don't want to be the reason WaitinForRain has a Thunderstorm.

masbama - 8/8/2020 at 09:51 PM

I like blackey’s posts.
You keep going blackey!

piacere - 8/8/2020 at 11:32 PM

"...about somebody I wished would come along, and she finally made it".

I'm really glad Gregg did that tune solo, it's so him.

I love that song. When I'm feeling kinda melancholy I sing it. The lyrics are awesome.

[Edited on 8/8/2020 by piacere]

piacere - 8/8/2020 at 11:37 PM

Btw, thanks Derek. Nice to see ya...

piacere - 8/9/2020 at 12:00 AM

One more thing...who was Butch to say what was in, what wasn't? Did he ever write anything? I mean, anything? Why was his vote so important? When Dickey wanted to add Ramblin' Man, from what I've heard, he took Gregg out into the woods to play it out of fear it was too country-ish. He had respect for Gregg's ear and song writing ability yet Butch, who never wrote anything, axed Queen of Hearts? Odd.

blackey - 8/9/2020 at 12:05 PM

Queen of Hearts is a great song and my favorite on Laid Back.

It would be nice to know exactly how that happened. They did vote on big items but this seems Gregg got mad when Butch dissed the song. And some accounts say Gregg was drunk when he showed it to the band and that may have been a contributing factor.

Butch also use to say he thought they recorded Ramblin' Man as a demo to show Merle Haggard and would have tried to keep that off the album but the Capricorn people liked it and after they added the long guitar at the end, Butch said it sounded like the ABB so he didn't push. But in 2009 when talking about it said if he had it to do over he would have tried to block Ramblin Man.

Dickey would say Johnny Sandlin came and said we are a song short on Brothers and Sisters, do you have anything? And Dickey mentioned having a song but it may be too country but Johnny liked it. I think Dickey did say before it was on Brothers and Sisters he was thinking about seeing if Merle Haggard would use it.

Maybe they were a song short because Gregg withdrew from a fight to get Queen of Hearts on the album. But Wasted Words is a good song and so is Come And Go Blues.

blackey - 8/9/2020 at 12:16 PM

Okay WaitingForRain maybe I've repeated long versions of my understanding of ABB history too many times and you were reading the same thing for the 3rd or 4th time.

I'll stop that or if I think someone is asking or has something not right, I'll keep it brief.

One reason there are different versions is people such as Gregg himself would tell it differently somewhat in various interviews.

And those guys made mistakes. I remember Dickey being asked who does the first guitar solo on In Memory of Elizabeth Reed on Fillmore East and he said Duane always went first on that one then I soloed after Gregg played. That was wrong as you know.

stormyrider - 8/9/2020 at 06:57 PM

Great tune
The Band's mistake turned out to be good for Gregg, I guess

steved - 8/9/2020 at 08:06 PM

One of my alltime favorites. Play it a lot. And yes it did turn out that kind of pushed Gregg to do his solo stuff.

Funny how things work out.

Happy we have both ABB and Gregory L. Allman.

WaitinForRain - 8/11/2020 at 03:43 AM

Gregg was a powerful, original voice as a songwriter.
I loved that he so often used such gorgeous chords, as much
as his lyrics.

This thread come from : Hittin' The Web with the Allman Brothers Band

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