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Gregg Allman attracts robust crowd at Buckhead book signing

Gregg Allman signs his name to copies of "My Cross to Bear." Photos: Melissa Ruggieri

Gregg Allman signs his name to copies of "My Cross to Bear." Photos: Melissa Ruggieri

For his first-ever book tour – promoting his first-ever book – Gregg Allman received a hero’s welcome.

 Hundreds of people snaked through the bookshelves and corridors at the Barnes & Noble in Buckhead Tuesday afternoon as the ponytailed Allman Brothers legend carefully inscribed the inside page of his recently released memoir,  “My Cross to Bear,” for book-bearing fans.

 The two-and-a-half-hour signing, the first stop on a tour that includes another Atlanta date Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Eagle Eye Bookshop in Decatur, as well as Nashville, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles and wraps in Macon June 3, understandably exhausted the musician, who lives in Savannah and has deep ties to Macon.

 Though he told fans who inquired about his health that he was feeling good, by the time he wound through the back room of the bookstore into a waiting black car, a drained-looking (and hungry) Allman said he was, “Tired. Very tired.”

 

People began lining up at 7 a.m. for the signing.

People began lining up at 7 a.m. for the signing.

Asked what he thought of the turnout, Allman, clad in black jeans and a loose dark gray T-shirt, simply said, “This is my first [signing], so I have nothing to compare it to. But…it was fantastic.”

 The book recounts the numerous tragedies in Allman’s life – notably the death of brother Duane – as well as the musical highlights, his marriage to Cher and his battle with hepatitis C, which he discussed with the AJC last year, and subsequent liver transplant.

 After Tuesday’s signing, Allman professed no regrets about exposing some of the more intimate aspects of his life.

 “I knew before I put it out there that it would be out there,” he said.

 The Barnes & Noble crowd – which began assembling at 7 a.m., five and a half hours before Allman’s scheduled arrival – was a big one for the bookstore. All copies of “My Cross to Bear” – more than 350 – sold out for the signing.

 “We are overwhelmed by the tremendous response by Gregg’s fans,” said Karen Kirk, community relations manager at Barnes & Noble. “They obviously adore him.”

 For much of the afternoon, Allman was flanked by Chank Middleton, his friend for more than four decades and one whom many Allman Brothers fans recognized.

 

Allman had time for a quick handshake with some fans.

Allman had time for a quick handshake with some fans.

Those assembled fans ranged from longhairs in faded Allman Brothers Band T-shirts to businessmen in ties to twentysomething girls, for whom Allman always had a smile. Most took a quick snapshot, inquired about his health or used their 10-second encounter to share a concert story (“I saw you at the Fox back in…”) or disclose a personal connection.

 One such link came when the uncle of Tommy Tucker, a long-ago bandmate of Allman’s, introduced himself.

 Allman stood to shake his hand.

19 comments Add your comment

weaseal

May 8th, 2012
5:05 pm

I was there and it was very well run by the store and we had a blast chating with fellow” brothers” in line

GunTotenBibleThumper

May 8th, 2012
5:11 pm

Keep on with the southern rock Greg, you’re a legend to those who lived good music!
Eat a Peach!

Mike

May 8th, 2012
5:36 pm

I thought about going this evening but if there was this big of a crowd, I guess I should already be in line.

Ohh well, I’ll buy the book anyway.

Melissa Ruggieri

May 8th, 2012
5:38 pm

Mike – you should still go. He stayed late to make sure everyone’s book got signed.

Filmore

May 8th, 2012
5:39 pm

Hmm…..book signings. There’s something ebook sellers can’t compete with.

3d

May 8th, 2012
5:44 pm

Wish I could have made it, but plan to buy the book at some point.

Grew up in Macon. The city needs to do something big for ABB that will live forever.

A memorial to them and Otis Redding should be the first things you see approaching Macon at the city limits on both 475 or 75.

Then again, we are talking about Macon. Not exactly the most hospitable place.

Bummed

May 8th, 2012
5:53 pm

I am bummed, I got there at 12:15, they were sold out. I was planning on buying a bunch of books for friends and family to get signed. I bought it for myself last week, read it in a couple days, it is absolutely great.

Mike

May 8th, 2012
6:20 pm

Melissa, I’d love go but wouldn’t be able to get there till 8 and judging from the previous posters comment about a lack of books, I’ll have to settle to just purchase it.

Thanks for reporting on it and if you had more photos, I’m sure folks wouldn’t mind you posting them.

MisterK

May 8th, 2012
6:57 pm

Gregg was very gracious, soft-spoken and frequently cracked a smile. He had no problem looking up for a photo. Great time if you got there early enough. At one point he was going to take a break, but decided to keep signing. Met some great folks in line – lots of good stories including a woman who attended one of the SuperDome opening shows at which the Allman Brothers played (along with Marshall Tucker, etc.) and the show went on until 2AM. She admitted it was one of two times in her life that she didn’t remember all of – not a surprise! Can’t wait for Chastain this Summer in ATL.

MisterK

May 8th, 2012
7:03 pm

Sad

May 8th, 2012
7:45 pm

They ran out of books !!! It’s OK we got to see him!

Rick James

May 8th, 2012
9:42 pm

One of only two guys I’ve stood in line for..The other being George Clinton.

ozzfest

May 8th, 2012
9:59 pm

Gregg dropped into Fuzzy’s on North Druid Hills UNANNOUNCED in 1993 and played three sonds with the house band Java Monkey.

Awesome.

ABB FAN 4EVER

May 9th, 2012
8:02 am

*EAT A PEACH FOR PEACE & LONGEVITY..

ValrieM

May 9th, 2012
3:25 pm

I wanted to go but couldn’t make it. Must have been so fun talking with other ABB fans! I saw the ABB in ATL shortly after Duane died. Marshall Tucker opened. They were great but as a friend said ,who has seen them more than myself, in many songs the right side finished before the left side(of the stage) or vice versa lol Gregg was very handsome and of course sang great. Saw him again a few more times. His book is very good, and it’s as if he is just having a conversation with the reader. How was he health-wise?? He looks like he’s lost a ton of weight and when I heard him interviewed he sounded weak. I hope he is doing well!!

ValrieM

May 9th, 2012
4:07 pm

BTW, good pics, Mr. K!!

Tommy Tucker

May 10th, 2012
10:43 am

FYI My father is Tommy Tucker RIP. Dad, Gregg, and Duane grew up around Daytona Beach together, and played around Daytona Beach with several different pre-ABB lineups. Dad sang, played guitar and keyboard. ( My grandmother also showed Gregg how to play piano) Gregg spoke of Dad as “an original brother,” in a statement that was included in a book dedicated to my dad’s memory.

Desperado

May 10th, 2012
11:32 am

Hey, somebody down there get a hold of Greg and see if he’ll stop in Washington on his way to NYC. The place would be packed. Big ABB crowd up here.
Is there any other way to get a signed copy ????

The Truth

May 11th, 2012
8:52 pm

Desperado – yes there is – Hittin The Note has signed copies for sale on their website.