Summer 1971: Sun, Fun, Love and the Allman Brothers

The Allman Brothers Band
The Allman Brothers in 1972, a year after their Atlantic City gigs. (The Allman Brothers Band (1972).JPG by Capricorn Records licensed under public domain)

By Alan Fineberg

In the summer of 1971, I was a not-so-innocent 17-year-old Central High graduate. So naturally, the rite of passage was to spend the summer down the shore with my friends.

Five immature 17- and 18-year-olds packed into a basement apartment in the Chelsea section of Atlantic City. My first true love, Robin, was staying nearby. It was just a magical time.

Now my friend Bruce was the sound man in the ballroom at Steel Pier. The horse was still diving, but the glory days were long faded.

Instead of the big bands, rock acts now played the ballroom. In early July, it was the Allman Brothers, who played four shows a day for a week. Long haired, scruffy and tattooed before it was fashionable, they were not well known yet up North and only two songs, “Revival” and “Whipping Post,” were getting airplay.

Robin, always two steps ahead of me in music as well as everything else, told me that we must see them. I ended up going to as many shows as I could, and they’re still one of my favorite bands.

I was working at the Deauville Hotel at the time, which happened to be the place where the Allmans were staying.

Late afternoons, it seemed like half the Jewish population of Philadelphia was in the lobby. There was the sight of men wearing white belts and shoes and women reeking of Jean Nate. The noise level rose with the latest gossip and making a decision of where to go for the early-bird special.

It was at the height of the din when all six Allman Brothers strolled through the lobby on their way back to Steel Pier. There was nothing but silence for minutes, save for a few “oy veys.”

I loved that summer.


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