Gregg Allman and Cher’s Macon hideaway
Fans of The Allman Brothers Band may get a chance to cruise down Gregg Allman Boulevard, then pass through the Jaimoe and Dickey Betts interchanges, and drive over the Butch Trucks bridge while in Macon.
There’s an effort underway to recognize four members of the legendary band near the Allman Brothers Band Museum at The Big House. Two other bandmates — Berry Oakley and Duane Allman — already have a stretch of road or bridge designated after them in the same area where the other four founding members could get a similar distinction.
The Big House museum is spearheading the push to recognize the band’s drummers Butch Trucks and Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson, guitarist Dickey Betts and singer-songwriter Gregg Allman.
Rock Candy Tours, which showcases Macon’s musical history, and Visit Macon, also known as the Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau, have joined the effort.
It’s still in the early stages, but research is being done to see how to make it happen, said Gary Wheat, president/CEO of Visit Macon.
This is the 50th anniversary of the founding of The Allman Brothers Band and Macon’s Capricorn Records.
“We’re not trying to rename anything or take anybody’s name away,” he said. “What we’re trying to do in proximity with Duane Allman Boulevard, the Berry Oakley bridge and the Big House, we’re trying to find other ways to designate or lay signage to reflect on their contributions.”
The ‘Raymond Berry Oakley III Bridge’ is located along Forsyth Street crossing Interstate 75. The Duane Allman Memorial Boulevard runs a three mile stretch that passes by The Big House museum and the H&H Restaurant, where the band ate many meals.
Jamie Weatherford, with Rock Candy Tours, says the dedication would be a nice gesture for not only the family of Gregg Allman, but also for the two remaining living band members, Dickey Betts and Jaimoe.
A stretch along Hardeman Avenue could become designated as Gregg Allman Boulevard and there could also be the Jaimoe and Dickey Betts interchanges and the Butch Trucks bridge in the same area as well, Weatherford said.
He said he’s hopeful that local and state officials will back those plans.
“We hope the appropriate parties agree to it and can have an event in honor of the 50th... and Dickey Betts and Jaimoe come and we can honor them while they’re still alive.”
The Georgia Allman Brothers Band Association backs the idea, said former president Greg Potter and current president Laraine Potter.
Greg Potter said if this latest effort comes to fruition then more people may stop by The Big House and H&H Restaurant.
Capricorn Sound Studios is also being turned into Mercer Music at Capricorn, a 20,000-square-foot space that will have a 24-hour music incubator, 13 rehearsal rooms, interactive exhibits and more.
“People that might not have known we’re here could see the sign and say, ‘oh let’s stop and see what’s going on,’” he said. “I think it would be a huge boost to tourism.”
Berry Oakley and Duane Allman are far from the only musicians to already have Macon streets or bridges bearing their names.
The most recent is “Jason Aldean Way” along a portion of Pine Street between Spring and New streets.
One of the most prominent is Little Richard Penniman Boulevard, which connects Mercer University Drive with downtown. Also, the Otis Redding Bridge crosses the Ocmulgee River near Gateway Park where a statue of the soul legend is located.
And another memorial bridge is named after the “Godfather of Soul” James Brown. The Walnut Street bridge, which spans I-75, is in the Pleasant Hill neighborhood.