Ramblin' Man (The Allman Brothers Band song)

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"Ramblin' Man"
Single by The Allman Brothers Band
from the album Brothers and Sisters
B-side "Pony Boy"
Released September 1973
Format 7" 45 RPM Single
Recorded October 1972
Genre Country rock, Southern rock
Length 4:48
Label Capricorn Records 0027
Writer(s) Dickey Betts
Producer(s) Johnny Sandlin, The Allman Brothers
The Allman Brothers Band singles chronology
"One Way Out"
"Ramblin' Man"

"Ramblin' Man" is a 1973 song by The Allman Brothers Band, featured on their album Brothers and Sisters. It was written by Dickey Betts, who also sang lead vocals.[1]

The song, based on a 1951 song of the same name by Hank Williams, was The Allman Brothers Band's first and only top ten single, topping out at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; ironically enough, it was held out of first place by Gregg's future wife Cher's Half-Breed. The song is sung by Betts and also features his lead guitar work, with support from session musician Les Dudek. Allmusic Guide writes that "the chorus is perhaps the catchiest and prettiest hook in all of Southern rock".[2] Robert Christgau called the tune "miraculous".[3]

The song forms part of the canon of American classic rock, and more specifically southern rock and has been featured in several movies, including The Exorcist, Big Fish, and When Harry Met Sally.

Despite being the band's biggest chart hit, since the mid-seventies it has only rarely been performed live by the band. Betts has said the song's structure doesn't lend itself well to improvisation, a key aspect of the band's concert performances. Since Betts' departure from The Allman Brothers Band, the remaining members have never performed it.

The song is a playable track in the music video games Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero World Tour. The 5:13 master track used in each game features an extended slide solo to cover up the fade-out at the end of the album version.

The song "Ramblin' Man" is part of the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list.[4]

The song was featured in the television series, Supernatural, in the premiere episode, and season four episode In the Beginning.

Cover versions include one by country musician Gary Stewart, who had a minor hit with the song in 1973.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1973) Peak
Australian Go-Set Chart 40[5]
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary 15
Canadian RPM Top Singles 7
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 2
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary 12
U.S. Cashbox Top 100 1

Key signature and composition[edit]

The guitars are tuned up a half step. As a result, the song is in the key of G sharp Major, although played as if it were in G major. The words and music were written by Dickey Betts.


  1. ^ Ramblin' Man Songfacts. Songfacts. Retrieved May 16, 2007.
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Ramblin' Man Review". AllMusic Guide. Retrieved 2007-05-11. 
  3. ^ Robert Christgau. "Consumer Guide: The Allman Brothers Band". Retrieved Feb 15, 2013. 
  4. ^ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame "500 songs that shaped rock and roll" [1]
  5. ^ http://www.poparchives.com.au/gosetcharts/1973/19731208.html