Midnight Rider

Album: Idlewild South (1970)
Charted: 19


  • This was Gregg Allman's signature song, describing how he continued on in the face of obstacles. He wrote the song, but shared the songwriting credit with Kim Payne, a roadie for the band who came up with the classic line, "The road goes on forever."
  • After he wrote this song, Gregg Allman wanted to start recording it right away, so with the help of Kim Payne, who was guarding their equipment, he broke into the band's Macon, Georgia recording studio in the middle of the night and went to work, figuring he should get some tracks down before he forgot them.
  • This first appeared on the second Allman Brothers album, Idlewild South, but it wasn't released as a single. The song became a live favorite and one very identifiable with Gregg, so when he recorded his first solo album, Laid Back, in 1973, he recorded a new version of this song and released it as a single. It became his biggest hit as a solo artist, charting at #19 US.
  • A 1976 reggae version by the Jamaican singer Paul Davidson reached #10 in the UK.
  • This song can be heard in the movie Unbreakable when Bruce Willis's character is lifting weights.
  • In 2013, this was used by Geico in a commercial for their motorcycle insurance. The spot, titled "Money Man," shows a rider literally made of money cruising while the song plays. The Allman Brothers are certainly popular with the biker crowd, but those familiar with the band found the ad in poor taste, as both Duane Allman and Berry Oakley died in motorcycle accidents.
  • On June 7, 2017, Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker, Derek Trucks and Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum paid tribute to Gregg Allman, who died on May 27, by opening the CMT Music Awards with a performance of this song.

Comments: 29

  • Pope Syd from CaliforniaThis song was also used in Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects.
  • Joe333 from Corona CaI thought it was about moonshine running
  • Joe333 from Corona CaAfter 50 years of listening they caught me 12/2/21 one day after my 60th birthday. They caught the midnight rider 2,800 lbs premo
  • Sandra Morrison from Bayonne, NjSounds reminds of living on the edge.One more silver Dollor, some old bed I'll soon be sharing......
  • Rodney Kinnett from ScAlways enjoyed the Allman brothers songs
  • Rodney from ScAlways liked midnight rider
  • Anthony from Guadalupe, AzIt is played in the opening scene of the 2004 remake of "Walking Tall" starting The Rock.
  • Scotty from San Jose I always assumed this song was about the midnight ride of Paul Revere, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott who was the final rider to make it all the way to Concord to warn that the British were coming! Wrong! Stumped again!!
  • Dave from PaThe version on Laid Back features what sounds like Fender Rhodes keyboard work, and that is the real gem of that recording. Does anyone know if Gregg played those keys or if someone else did that?
  • Eric from WisconsinI'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the use of this song in "The Devil's Rejects".
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 27th 1971, the Allman Brothers performed "Midnight Rider" at Bill Graham's Fillmore East in New York City...
    It was the final night for the 'Fillmore East'; it had opened on March 8th, 1968...
    (See 3rd post below for chart info).
  • Raven from Montclair, NjThis song sends me to places that are both warm and safe and that are unsure. I love The Allman Brothers Band and this song.
  • Matt from Austin, MnAs a vagabond I agree- The road does go on forever. It never stops.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 23rd 1982, the Allman Brothers performed "Midnight Rider" on the NBC-TV program 'Saturday Night Live"...
    Nine years earlier on December 16th, 1973 Gregg Allman's re-worked version of the song entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on February 17th, 1974 it peaked at #19 (for 1 week) and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
    Three covered versions charted; in 1972 Joe Cocker took it to #27 on the Top 100, in the U.K. in 1976 Paul Davidson reached #10 with it, and in 1980 Willie Nelson's version peaked at #6 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart.
  • Doug from Bristol, MeDamn good song. I like Gregg's version okay, with the electric piano and horns (4:28 on his "Laid Back" or "Best of" albums), but I kinda prefer the original (first released on "Idlewild South," I think), even though it's shorter (2:59). Tommy of NY, NY: Thanks for that note about the sound engineer being "drafted" to play that riff. I found several lessons for it on YouTube, so I might finally learn to play it. It looks fairly easy, once somebody shows how it's played. Would've been cool to learn it from Gregg himself.
  • Roann from Apalachin, NyThis incredible song is now used in a Geico motorcycle insurance commercial. Just saw it today. It features the money covered biker riding down a road with money flying all over the place. As far as I am concerned, this is another big company co-opting the wonderful music from the baby boomer generation.
  • Jerry from Chicago, IlThis is as good a song as there is. Would have loved to see this live with all the original players.
  • Lee from Huntsville, Aldickey also played on marshall tucker's "fire on the mountain" single...listen and you will undoubtedly hear his style. he has that signature sound with no rival.
  • Lee from Huntsville, Althis was the original version of the song with duane playing. greg re-made it a few years later but this is the best. you can hear and feel duane and dickeys' opposing styles so well here. both amazing guitarist,who knows what could have been. we'll never know except what we already know...true southern talent.
  • Steve from Alexandria, VaGreg Allman once said in an interview regarding writing Midnight Rider; "that song hit me like a sack of hoe handles". I was but 8 or 9 years old when I first heard it on the radio and had the same experience.
  • Tommy from Ny, NyI heard that during the studio recording of this song he actually had one of the enineers play the little riff that you hear through out the song. The guy supposedly didn't know how to play guitar so Gregg taught him the chords and whenever Greg wanted him to play them he would point to him and he'd play it. All while singing and recording. That's why I like this song.
  • Shannon from Sioux Falls, SdOne of my favorite songs ever!i first heard it on the movie Now and Then
  • Michael from Chicago, IlThis might be one of the best songs of all time. However I did not like the version of "Midnight Rider" in the opening scene of the Rock's "Walking Tall". And yes, the opening of "Devil's Rejects" is 10 times better because of this song. In fact, that whole soundtrack is amazing. Skynard, Allman, Steely Dan, Three Dog Night, David Essex...good stuff!
  • Cody from Dallas, TxGreat song. In 2005, this was used in the opening credits of Rob Zombie's horror flick The Devil's Rejects.
  • Barry from New York, NyOn the 1989 tour Gregg let his son Devon take a few vocals in this song. Luckily, Devon hasn't butchered the song since!!
  • Ryan from Auburn, NyTo Andy, if you think front row is awesome, then you oughta try back stage. My mom gets free backstage passes from their road manager. They met in rehad like 20 years ago, and he gives her a few tickets a year to see them and I've been twice. I have stuff authographed by all the members.
  • Angus from Ransomville, Nydang, i would love to see the Allman Bros in concert... and i love this song
  • Andy from Charlton, MaI was in the front row for the Allman Brothers at Bonnaroo 2005 and yes it was an AMAZING set with Midnight Rider standing out as one of the better songs.
  • Justin from Chicago, IlAt Bonnaroo 2005, the remaining members, with some new, including Warren Haynes, played an extremely cool version of this during their 2 1/2 hour set. "Jessica" was unforgettable.
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