The big hit was “I’m No Angel.”
That’s right, Gregg Allman was free of Phil Walden and Capricorn. He signed a deal with Epic and lo and behold, nearly a decade after his last solo work, when MTV ruled and it looked like the game had totally changed, he broke through once again.
Not that the “I’m No Angel” album wasn’t slick, wasn’t different from what came before. But for those who never gave up hope, the album delivered. It was far from a sell-out, we were eager to BUY IN!
I bought it upon release, because I’m a believer.
And the track that resonated, that I could not stop playing, was “Anything Goes.”
So a couple of years later, the Allmans have reformed and my friend Steve Massarsky, who rescued Dickey Betts from bad deals, invited me to the show at the Greek.
And I’m hanging with the band, trying to work up my nerve to talk to Gregg. This was back before I could miss an opportunity, back before I figured it best to respect their privacy, unless someone introduced me and they knew who I was.
But I sidled up to Gregg. And I’m in his shadow, he’s quite a tall dude. And being the fan I am, I tell him I love “Anything Goes.” I don’t want to testify about everybody’s cut, but mine. I tell Gregg I love it at the end, after the break, when Gregg yells ANYTHING GOES!
And Gregg leans down and tells me…
“I can’t hit that note every night.”
Now you’ve got to imagine this. I’ve caught his attention. Gregg’s towering above me in his Cuban heels. He starts to whisper in my ear. It’s very intimate. Like we’re old buddies sharing a story.
And the story is…
He can’t hit that note every night. But sometimes he’s sitting on the organ bench and as he reaches over to play a note his nut gets caught under his leg and he yells ANYTHING GOES!
That’s it. Albeit a ten second version of a two minute story. I mean I figure Gregg’s going to reveal a musical moment, something deep only a musician can fully understand, he’s going to drop some wisdom on me.
But then he finishes telling this over the line story and he pulls back his head and looks me straight in the eye. Was he trying to freak me out, push me away, or be a brother? I still don’t know.
But one thing’s for sure, I was out of my league. Not only was Gregg Allman a rock star who’d slept with seemingly anybody he wanted, made millions and done enough dope to kill people, he was COOL! And I wasn’t and am never gonna be.
What happens now nobody knows
That’s the privilege of being a rock star. Anything goes. The limits and boundaries that the rest of us respect and adhere to don’t apply. That’s why we wanted to get closer, that’s why we went to the show. They had charisma, and they knew how to play and write. And they did it themselves. Their truth was in their material.
And the truth is “Anything Goes” is a magical track. It still works. Check it out. And at 3:20, as Gregg yells ANYTHING GOES know that he believes it, that’s his philosophy. At least when he’s around ME!