While the television broadcast of The 54th Grammys airs tonight at 8PM ET on CBS, yesterday the academy’s 2012 Special Merit Awards Ceremony took place in Los Angeles where the Allman Brothers Band were among the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award. All of the surviving original members of the band spoke with the exception of exiled guitarist Dickey Betts. In addition, each of the current members of the group as well as former keyboardist Chuck Leavell and family members of late ABBers Duane Allman and Berry Oakley spoke during the Allmans’ nearly 23 minutes on stage.
Gregg Allman was the first to speak and thanked all of the crew and the fans before mentioning that his health was improving. Allman also thanked Bill Graham as did Leavell. Jaimoe was up next and thanked every musician who he had played with as well as his family before telling the story of how he met Duane. Drummer Butch Trucks took a large majority of the time on stage and told a few stories about Duane Allman and how much of making music is “in the moment.” Galadrielle, Duane’s daughter, spoke about her dad and how much it means to his legacy that the band still performs at such a high level. Britney and Berry Oakley Jr. talked about how close they still are with her late father’s bandmates and that they could feel her father’s presence on that stage.
Leavell was the first speaker to mention, and thank, Dickey Betts as Chuck told the audience that Dickey couldn’t make it but wanted to join him in thanking impressario Bill Graham, Capricorn Records head Phil Walden, engineer and producer Tommy Dowd, producer Johnny Sandlin and the fans. Betts, who was fired from the Allman Brothers Band in 2000, has previously said through his official website that he would be on hand to receive the award. Current members Warren Haynes, Oteil Burbridge, Marc Quinones and Derek Trucks each took a few moments and discussed what the legacy of the group meant to them. The Allman Brothers Band returns to the stage on March 9 at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.