Brothers and Sisters: The Allman Brothers Band and the Inside Story of the Album That Defined the '70s (Hardcover)
THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
New York Times bestselling author Alan Paul's in-depth narrative look at the Allman Brothers' most successful album, and a portrait of an era in rock and roll and American history.
The Allman Brothers Band’s Brothers and Sisters was not only the band’s bestselling album, at over seven million copies sold, but it was also a powerfully influential release, both musically and culturally, one whose influence continues to be profoundly felt.
Celebrating the album’s fiftieth anniversary, Brothers and Sisters the book delves into the making of the album, while also presenting a broader cultural history of the era, based on first-person interviews, historical documents, and in-depth research.
Brothers and Sisters traces the making of the template-shaping record alongside the stories of how the Allman Brothers came to the rescue of a flailing Jimmy Carter presidential campaign and helped get the former governor of Georgia elected president; how Gregg Allman’s marriage to Cher was an early harbinger of an emerging celebrity media culture; and how the band’s success led to internal fissures. The book also examines the Allman Brothers' relationship with the Grateful Dead—including the most in-depth reporting ever on the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen, the largest rock festival ever—and describes how they inspired bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, helping create the southern rock genre.
With exclusive access to hundreds of hours of never-before-heard interviews with every major player, including Dickey Betts and Gregg Allman, conducted by Allman Brothers Band archivist, photographer, and “Tour Mystic” Kirk West, Brothers and Sisters is an honest assessment of the band’s career, history, and highs and lows.
About the Author
ALAN PAUL is the author of the New York Times bestseller One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band, the definitive book on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band, and Texas Flood: the Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan. The latter has been optioned and is being developed for both documentary and feature films. His first book, Big in China, is about his experiences raising an American family, forming a band, and becoming an unlikely rock star in Beijing. He also founded Friends of the Brothers, the premier celebration of the music of the Allman Brothers Band, featuring members of the Dickey Betts, Jaimoe and Gregg Allman bands. He is a regular guest on radio shows and a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Guitar World, and other publications. He lives in New Jersey.
"Access to hundreds of hours of interviews with the musicians, recorded in the mid-1980s by Kirk West, a longtime Allman Brothers insider, for a book he never got around to writing...reads like a Verdi opera." —The Washington Post
“[Alan Paul is] perceptive when analyzing the musical approaches of the band’s members” —The Wall Street Journal
"Few writers understand or appreciate the Allman Brothers as much as Paul. His book, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of its namesake album, colorfully narrates an oft-overlooked chapter in the band’s history with nuance, clarity and perspicacity. In addition to his own extensive reporting, Paul had access to hundreds of hours of interviews conducted in the mid-1980s by Kirk West, a longtime Allman Brothers insider, for a book West never got around to writing. That material gives Paul’s work a real richness and depth.
“Brothers and Sisters” is a very good read for anyone interested in the Allman Brothers, the sounds of the ’70s or simply great music. It rocks." —Los Angeles Times
“This is one hellacious inside story, a wild ride through early-70s America, when the counterculture begat arena rock was born…Paul’s deep, careful reporting across the decades makes it all feel raw and new, revealing the pain and precariousness of the Brothers and Sisters sessions.” —The Observer
"Brothers and Sisters: The Allman Brothers Band and the Inside Story of the Album that Defined the 1970s is a scholarly book with a warm spirit and filled with fresh information on one of America’s greatest rock bands. It is a noble, kick-ass addition to the literary rock canon." —CultureSonar
"full of insider-y tidbits for Allman fans, but it also provides a fascinating portrait of the era" —Garden & Gun
"Paul, who has conducted extensive interviews with just about everyone in the Allman Brothers world (and also draws on hundreds of hours of interviews by Kirk West for a book that never got written), has previously written the definitive book on Allman Brothers Band history, “One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band.” So is another book really necessary?
Yes it is, given everything that happened to the band from ’71 to ’76...
...Like Warren Zanes’ recent “Deliver Me from Nowhere: The Making of Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska,” it uses a great album as a launching pad for a thorough exploration of an artist at a unique and fascinating point in their history." —NJ Arts
“The book is full of trenchant observations by friends and contemporaries, creating a valuable perspective on the music scene in the early ’70s. A warm, entertaining appreciation of a key period in the career of a vital American band." —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
"extensive, thoroughly researched... Longtime Allman Brothers fans and readers who have only recently discovered the band will enjoy this in-depth treatment." —Library Journal
“a rollicking tale...Enriched by a cache of band interviews never heard before, Paul’s entry marshals encyclopedic detail and sterling prose for a vivid glimpse into a classic moment in music history. Rock fans will rejoice.” —Publishers Weekly
"For a fledgling 20-year old piano player in 1972, being asked to join the Allman Brothers Band was like entering Heaven. There were ups and downs during the making of Brothers and Sisters, but it still stands as the band’s most popular and best-selling record. Alan has captured the era with deep research and his savvy writing skills." —Chuck Leavell, Allman Brothers Band, Rolling Stones
“If you want to know the real deal, read Alan Paul.” —Oteil Burbridge, Allman Brothers Band
“No journalist knows the ins and outs of the Allman Brothers Band better than Alan Paul.” —Warren Haynes, Allman Brothers Band
“Alan Paul is our Jimmy Olsen. He’s one of the only cats who even knows what questions to ask. I'm glad he's now told the story of this era. We were a different band with Chuck and Lamar." —Jaimoe, Allman Brothers Band
"I sure am glad Alan took that suitcase full of interview tapes home with him. 40 years later I learned so much it surprised me." —Kirk West, Allman Brothers Band Tour Mystic
“Alan Paul’s vantage point and care are revealing and on target - a difficult task with so many moving parts. I greatly respect his dedication to search for the closest factual read. Hardcore fans and casual readers will both be thankful for his success!” —Tommy Talton, Cowboy/Gregg Allman band
“No one knows more about the Allman Brothers than Alan Paul. In this fast paced yet moving account of the band’s post-Duane rise to stardom, Paul paints a compelling portrait of not just the world of rock back then but the world as well. A must read for all those who love their music, Brothers and Sisters is also a deep dive into the true price of rock stardom.” —Robert Greenfield, author, Bill Graham Presents
“Gloriously researched and passionately written, Alan Paul’s Brothers and Sisters summons all the grand spirits of a time when America was at a hopeful crossroads, and the Allman Brothers were our treasured house band. This band needed no video assist, no pageantry, just a stage, some instruments, and an audience ready to scratch the heavens with them. By the first page, you’ll feel the band, hear the guitars, the elemental voice, and the magic of our most unforgettable band. There is no greater tour guide on this journey than Alan Paul’s Brothers and Sisters.” —Cameron Crowe, journalist and filmmaker
"Alan Paul’s Brothers and Sisters is a significant piece of rock music history. It is written with great love for his subject—the Allman Brothers Band and their place in the music and culture of the Seventies—but with the practiced eye of a superb critic and interpreter. And as with all of Alan’s writing, it is immensely readable and accessible. Once I started, I read it cover to cover." —Jon Landau, producer, manager, journalist
"Unique among the rock bands of the ‘60s and ‘70s in their profound commitment to improvisation, the Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead had a deep musical kinship. That and much more is beautifully explored in Alan Paul’s Brothers and Sisters. It is a unique and brilliant contribution to understanding the era when rock and roll really mattered." —Dennis McNally, author of A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead
"Alan Paul has delved further, dug deeper and discovered more about this pivotal era of the Allman Brothers Band than anyone ever has. Tightly written, informative and provocative, Alan has brought clarity to the sometimes distorted history of the ABB. Like the album that it takes its title from, Brothers and Sisters is a masterpiece." —John Lynskey, historian/curator, The Big House Museum
"Brothers and Sisters is more than a well-written book about a famous band and its famous album. It's a trip back to a lost world of sublime possibility, when a legendary producer and a collection of talented musicians could help elect an American president." —Jonathan Alter, author of His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life
"Brothers and Sisters is a fabulously entertaining, occasionally harrowing journey through the highs and lows of the Allman Brothers Band during their peak years in the 1970s, when they were arguably the most popular band in America. It's an eye-opening saga, rich with detail and populated by a colorful cast that includes musical giants, movie stars, a future President of the Untied States, and assorted rogues and scoundrels. I was particularly thrilled to finally read a masterful account of the close bonds between the Allmans and the Grateful Dead, including Paul's truly definitive look at the gargantuan Watkins Glen Summer Jam. This is one of the best rock books I’ve ever read - and I’ve read a ton of them!" —Blair Jackson, author of Garcia: An American Life
“Alan Paul is rock’s finest narrative historian.” —Ted Drozdowski, Premier Guitar