Today, July 6, marks the 50th anniversary of the release of third Allman Brothers Band album, At Fillmore East, widely considered one of the greatest-ever live albums.
The double-album marked a commercial breakthrough for the Southern jam band, peaking at #13 on Billboard‘s Top Pop Albums chart, and eventually becoming the group’s first platinum-certified release.
The album was recorded during a March 11-13 stand at promoter Bill Graham‘s famous New York City venue. At Fillmore East captured the band firing on all cylinders, showcasing the two-guitar interplay of Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, and frontman Gregg Allman‘s soulful vocals and soaring Hammond organ.
Among At Fillmore East‘s performances are renditions of blues gems such as Blind Willie McTell‘s “Stateboro Blues” and T-Bone Walker‘s “Stormy Monday,” as well as three originals — “Hot ‘Lanta,” “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and “Whipping Post.”
The album featured several extended jams that allowed the Allmans to fully explore their eclectic mix of blues, jazz, soul and psychedelic rock, including an almost-13-minute rendition of the Betts-penned instrumental “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and an epic 22-plus-minute version of Gregg Allman’s “Whipping Post.”
In the 2012 Allmans biography One Way Out, producer Tom Dowd said of the At Fillmore East performances, “Here was a rock ‘n’ roll band playing blues in the jazz vernacular. And they tore the place up.”
Sadly, At Fillmore East was the last album Allman Brothers Band released before Duane Allman’s death at age 27 on October 29, 1971, in a motorcycle crash.
In 2015, Rolling Stone ranked At Fillmore East second on its “50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time” list. It also was added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in 2004.
Here’s the album’s full track list:
“Done Somebody Wrong”
“You Don’t Love Me”
“In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”
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