In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed

Album: Idlewild South (1970)
  • Allmans guitarist Dickey Betts wrote this song for a girl, but not the one in the title. Elizabeth Reed Napier (b. November 9, 1845) is buried at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, Georgia, where Betts would often write. He used the name from her headstone as the title because he did not want to reveal who the song was really about: a girl he had an affair with who was Boz Scaggs' girlfriend.
  • Duane Allman and Berry Oakley are buried in the same cemetery as Elizabeth Reed Napier.
  • This was the first original instrumental song by The Allman Brothers.
  • Betts wrote this is based on Miles Davis' "All Blues." While Davis had been incorporating elements of rock into his jazz, Betts used pieces of jazz for this rock instrumental. Jazz rhythms make excellent use of the two-drummer format the Allmans use.
  • This is one of their live favorites. It usually evolves into a lengthy jam.
  • At concerts, this was a showcase for Allman's drummers Jaimoe and Butch Trucks, who performed a drum solo at the end.
  • The live version on At Fillmore East takes up almost a whole side. Because of the extended jams, it became a double album, but the band insisted it be priced close to a single album.
  • The earliest known recordings of this song are from the band's Fillmore East performances on February 11, 13 and 14, 1970. The Allman Brothers were on a bill with the Grateful Dead and Love; the Dead's soundman Owsley "Bear" Stanley kept tape rolling and got the recordings, which were compiled into his "Sonic Journal" project and released in 2018 as Allman Brothers Band Fillmore East February 1970.

Comments: 32

  • Elizabeth Reed from Elsah, IllinoisI am Elizabeth Reed
    Also, there is a cemetery in the town i live in that has a headstone with the name Elizabeth Reed on it from the 1800's ( no relationship to me though)
  • Seanvplayer from Sonora, Ca.While I have Always enjoyed the version on the Fillmore East album, and the drum solos Are amazing, do yourself a favor and check out the album "An Evening With The Allman Brothers Band, 2nd Set". There are no drums, no percussion on this version of Elizabeth Reed. There is instead a bass solo that really rocks! Cheers!!
  • Mavis from Upper MidwestI heard the married woman in question was the then-wife of a well-known Bay Area singer. The lady is gone now, but was quite a fashionista in her day. That’s the lowdown I heard. Don’t know if it’s true...
  • George from Ft Myers, FlStrange thing happened today. I was driving southbound between Key Largo and Marathon on US One in the Fl Keys playing the Allman Bros In Memory of Elizabeth Reed I received a phone call the caller said he had the wrong number I checked the caller ID and it said Elizabeth Reed. Strange!
  • Suzanne from Long Beach, WaI have always liked listening to the Allman Bros. on the radio. However, I fell in love with Mountain Jam on Sirius/XM, so I downloaded the Live at Fillmore East album on itunes. Holy moses, Allman and Betts' guitar weaving sound transcendent on Elizabeth Reed! Not to mention Gregg on the organ. I definitely hear the Miles Davis influences. It doesn't get much better than this!
  • Bill from Atlanta, GaIn Beaufort,SC...St. Helena's Episcopal Church cemetary...high walls, overgrown and unvisited...lies an almost-buried 2'x4' marker headstone titled with "The Memory of Elizabeth Reed"...would have served nicely - albeit morbidly - as a hard bed...the boys spent bookoo high-tripping times in Beaufort.
  • Jr from Easington, United KingdomI went to Rose Hill cemetary (Macon GA) last weekend on the wasy down to FLA. I know exactly what Craig from Chester (GA) means above. There's some kind of energy at that place that I can't quite describe. Just been reading "Midnight Riders" the history of the band. Wish I'd read it before going down there. The significance of that place is monumental.

    In response to John's question. They both died within three city blocks of each other in Macon GA. I'd have thought everyone contributing to this thread would be aware of that.
  • James from Jacksonville, Flok get a copy of this song Oh Why Not Tonight, a hymn popular in Churches of Christ (in which Dicky Betts grew up in Bradenton FL. Listen to the chorus - its the same as the intro to Liz Reed only in a major key. Now - guess who wrote Oh Why Not Tonight? Elizabeth Reed!
  • Craig from Chester, GaI was actually in Macon this past weekend and visited the gravesite of Duane and Berry (they have a great view of the Ocmulgee River), along with checking out their first house (it is all boarded up now)and the locations of their deaths. I clocked the distance from one to the other and it was 2 tenths of a mile. Eerie as hell being there.
  • Jm from Dc, DcGreatest rock track *ever*, I mean **EVER**!!
  • Bob from Southfield, MiI saw Betts when he gave a presentation at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years ago and he talked about this song. He admitted that he was having an affair with a married woman at the time and on one of their trysts, they made love in a cemetary. He wrote this song for that woman but, for obvious reasons, couldn't name it after her so he took Elizabeth Reed's name from a nearby tombstone. That was straight from the Allman Bros mouth so the story is true!
  • Mike from Atlanta, GaA friend went to Mass. with her daughter to do a report on the colonial states and their settlers! I was astounded to see that her daughter had knelt behind a toombstone bearing my name from the 18th century!They had no idea until they got home! Pretty nice! Mike
  • Tom from Terre Haute, InHere is a weird fact that I read today: There was an Elizabeth Reed in Palestine, Illinois, who in 1845 was hung for having poisoned her husband by placing Arsenic in his tea. Even weirder: Palestine began an "Elizabeth Read Days" festival this year, including casket races.
  • Jim from Scituate, Maone of the greatest live songs of all time. it combines rock, jazz, and a little bit of latin. sort of sounds like carlos santana on cocaine..haha
  • Randy from Indianapolis, In"Don't Want You No More" is the first song on the first album by the ABB. It is an instrumental. It is however not an "original" as the songfact states above. It was written by Spencer Davis. So therefore, "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" is the first "original" instrumental by the band. Killer song arrangement by the way. Be sure to listen to the acoustic version on "An Evening with the Allman Brothers" a promotional disc which can be hard to find.
  • Scott from New York, NyDuane and Berry lived in Macon, Ga. at the time of their deaths. Oakley took parts from Duane's wrecked bike and incorporated them into his. He was devastated by Duane's death and subsequently had several accidents during the upcoming year. 13 months later he was gone.
  • Jack from Oak Ridge, NcIn the "At Filmore East" version, when it's his turn to solo, Duane Allman starts out by quietly rephrasing the first theme. He then gradually builds to a high-pitched climax, with Berry Oakley's bass guitar playing a powerful counterpoint lead underneath him against the band's trademark percussive backing. Allman cools off into a reverie, then starts up again, finding an even more furious peak. It was this long, masterful solo that drew comparisons of Duane to jazz immortal John Coltrane.
  • William from Las Cruces, NmThe finest party song every written.
  • Ni from Mechanicsburg, PaLove the live version. Great dual drums between Jamoe and Trucks.
  • Tyler from Providence, RiThe guitar bass harmonies are catchy in this song. Great My favorite part is right when it changes progressions towards the begining and goes into a more funk like style after the more jazz oriented beginning
  • Miro Jones from Joinville, ScThis wasnt the first instrumental tune from Allman Bros. Dont want you no more is really the first one.
  • Andy from Pittsburgh, PaThe true story is Dickey did make it a tribute to Miles, but as well made it a tribute to a woman whose name couldnt be mentioned which is where the latin feel came from. I heard she was Boz Scaggs wife at the time, so I read. Elizabeth Reed is buried at Rose Hill, and once in an interview Duane said that Dickey screwed some girl on the tombstone and he wasnt serious. Or was he? I donno I wasnt there. Im just reporting what I read in the book "Midnight Riders". Steve from Houston got it right. What Inspiration Dickey, my fn hero.
  • Zap from Norwalk, Ct"Little Martha" is also named from a grave in Rose Hill Cemetery -
  • Barry from New York, NyThe ABB frequently add guest musicians when they play this song. I've seen them play this at the Beacon Theatre with Bela Fleck on banjo!! (03/15/03)
  • Joshua from Twin Cities, MnThe song's structure - a slow and kind of spooky opening section that segues into a spirited jam - is vaguely reminiscent of New Orleans funeral procession music. In light of the song's title, I wonder if Betts had this in mind when he wrote the song.
  • Andy from Chattanooga, TnDickey Betts has vehemently, and sometimes profanely, denied that he wrote this song after screwing a girl on the grave with this headstone. In one interview he called this an insult to the woman buried in the cemetary.
  • Steve from Houston, Txdickey was dating a latin girl and used to take her to the cemetary in question where he would write music, bang chicks, etc. :note latin feel in song. he said he couldn't use her name so he picked the name of the closest gravestone which said "in memory of elizabeth reed"
  • Billy from Bellingham, WaI heart that too. Dicky Betts was doing some chick in the cemetery on Elizbeth Reeds tombstone.
  • Robin from Decatur, AlI always thought this was a common thing, but I've heard the song is attributed to a woman, that one person or another.. uh.. you know'd, at a cemetery.
  • Will from Macon, GaThe state they were born in is Tenn. The state they lived in while recording with capricorn records is Ga...Macon ga. in a house on college street.
  • John from Altus, OkWhat do Duane and Berry Oakley share in commen about they're deaths? Answer: They both died near the same spot of a corner in they're home state of??? The question is: What state is it?
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