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Berry Oakley
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Musician
    (April 4, 1948-November 11, 1972)
    Born in Chicago, Illinois
    Birth name was Raymond Berry Oakley III
    Bassist in the Allman Brothers Band (1969-72)
    Died in a motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia, after colliding with a city bus
    As a witness at the murder trial of Allman Brothers roadie Twiggs Lydon, he was frequently incoherent, had to leave the stand several times to go to the bathroom to vomit, and admitted to taking drugs an hour before his appearance.
    His drinking and drug use became so heavy that the band would position a roadie to catch him if he fell off the stage.
    In a freaky coincidence, he crashed only three blocks away from the site of Duane Allman's fatal accident, just over one year later.
    After the accident, he insisted he was all right, refused medical treatment, and caught a ride home. Three hours later, he became delirious and was rushed to the hospital, where he died of cerebral swelling from a fractured skull.
    He agreed to join the Allman Brothers only if his friend Dickie Betts was included as well.
    His sturdy basslines often held the Allman Brothers songs together, especially during their extended jams.
    He gave his son the middle name Duane in honor of Duane Allman.
    He was devastated by Duane Allman's death, with drummer Butch Trucks saying, 'I don't think Berry really knew how to exist in a world without Duane.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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