The Allman Brothers Band's legendary third studio album, Eat a Peach, was born out of terrible tragedy. The group had been riding high on the breakout success of 1971 live album, At the Fillmore East, when guitarist and band leader Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle crash in Macon, Georgia. Allman, like many of his bandmates, had been battling a serious heroin addiction at the time. He was just 24 years old.
The band had been recording the album at the time of Allman's death, so his guitar work still shows up on six of the double-album's nine songs. That wasn't his only contribution to the release: the late guitarist would provide the record with its memorable title.
"We had finished recording the album we were in the middle of doing when Duane was killed," drummer Butch Trucks told Live for Live Music. "I walked into Phil Walden’s (manager) office one day soon after and he had that cover art on his desk. He asked me what I thought and I said, “That cover is great, but the title sucks.” They were gonna call it The Kind We Grow in Dixie. Duane had done a big interview with Rolling Stone not long before, and in it, they asked him what he did for the revolution. He laughed and said, 'there ain’t no revolution, it’s all evolution.' Then he told them that every time he headed South he would 'eat a peach for peace.' I told Walden to keep the art but call the album 'Eat a Peach For Peace.' That became Eat a Peach."
The album was packed with Allman Brothers Band classics, including "Melissa," "Ain't Wastin' Time No More" and "Mountain Jam." Released on February 12, 1972, Eat a Peach remains the group's highest-charting album in America, peaking at #4 on April 29, 1972. The #1 album in the country that week: Roberta Flack's First Take.
Despite the album's success, it made for a rough year on the road as band members dealt with the loss of their fallen brother.
“We played some blues, let me tell you,” drummer Trucks told Cameron Crowe and Rolling Stone back in 1973. “We still do. There’s one place in our set…and it’s for Duane. I’m not going to tell you exactly what or where it is, but it’s always there. I feel it every night we play. We all do.”