Berry Oakley was one of the founding members of southern rock pioneers The Allman Brothers Band. Berry was born in Chicago, but after dropping out of high school, he joined a band and soon found himself from Florida, where he played with Dickey Betts in a band called The Second Coming in late 60’s.
In Florida, he met Duane Allman, who persuaded Berry to join a new band he was forming with his brother, Gregg. The Allman Brothers Band released self-titled debut in 1969 and started their never ending tours. Their concerts often grew into extended jam session, held together by Berry’s bass.
The Allman Brothers Band opened doors for new generation of southern rock bands, including The Marshall Tucker Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd and released two more studio albums along with famous double live album At Fillmore East and before Berry’s untimely death.
Death of Berry Oakley
On November 11th, Berry Oakley was taking a ride on his ’67 Triumph motorcycle along with friend Kim Payne, when he crashed into a bus on Inverness Avenue, only three blocks from Duane Allman’s fatal crash site a year earlier. Berry was thrown off from his bike, but afterward claimed to be OK and declined medical treatment. Oakley was later taken to hospital, where he soon died from cerebral swelling caused by skull fracture. Bodies of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley are buried side by side in Rose Hill Cemetery, Macon, Georgia.
Raymond Berry Oakley III April 4th 1948 – November 11th 1972
…And the road goes on forever