Howard Duane Allman (November 20, 1946 – October 29, 1971) was an American guitarist, session musician, and co-founder and leader of the Allman Brothers Band until his death following a motorcycle crash in 1971, at the age of 24.
The Allman Brothers Band was formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1969. The band had great success in the early 1970s. Allman is best remembered for his brief but influential tenure in the band and in particular for his expressive slide guitar playing and inventive improvisational skills. In 2003, he was ranked number 2 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, second only to Jimi Hendrix. In 2011, he was ranked number 9. His guitar tone (achieved with a Gibson Les Paul and two 50-watt bass Marshall amplifiers) was named one of the greatest of all time by Guitar Player.
A sought-after session musician both before and during his tenure with the band, Duane Allman performed with such established stars as King Curtis, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and Herbie Mann. He also contributed greatly to the 1970 album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, by Derek and the Dominos.
Duane Allman's skills as a guitarist were complemented by personal qualities such as his intensity, drive and ability to draw the best out of others in making music. He is still referred to by his nickname "Skydog".
He is also known as Skydog.
Allman was killed in a motorcycle crash only months after the release and initial success of At Fillmore East. On October 29, 1971, while the band was on a break from touring and recording, Allman was riding his Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle at high speed on Hillcrest Avenue, in the western part of Macon. As he approached Bartlett Street, a flatbed truck carrying a lumber crane stopped suddenly in the intersection, forcing him to swerve sharply. He struck either the back of the truck or the ball on the lumber crane and was thrown from the motorcycle, which landed on top of him and skidded another 90 feet with him pinned underneath it, crushing his internal organs. He was alive when he was brought to a hospital, but despite immediate medical treatment, he died several hours later from massive internal injuries.