Remember When: Willie Nelson Welcomed the Allman Brothers Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Covered ‘Midnight Rider’

The music world is mourning the loss of Allman Brothers Band co-found and guitarist Dickey Betts. A message on his official website announced Betts died early April 18, at the age of 80. In 1995, Betts and the rest of the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by longtime friend Willie Nelson. The “Red-headed Stranger” also covered one of the southern rockers’ most iconic tunes.

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See Willie Nelson Cover ‘Midnight Rider’

Perhaps no song is more synonymous with the Allman Brothers Band than “Midnight Rider.” The song floated to vocalist Gregg Allman on a cloud of marijuana smoke one night at Idlewild South, a lakeside farmhouse the group rented outside Macon, Georgia. Finding himself stuck on the third verse, Allman turned to roadie Kim Payne for help.

“We were getting high, and, honestly, he was starting to irritate me – because he was singing this song over and over, and I got sick of hearing the band play the same s*** over and over again until they got it right,” Payne recalled. “So I just threw out the line, ‘I’ve gone past the point of caring / some old bed I’ll soon be sharing.’”

[RELATED: 3 Allman Brothers Band Classics Written by Dickey Betts]

Although Gregg Allman called it “the song I’m most proud of in my career,” “Midnight Rider” did not chart for The Allman Brothers. Fellow stoner Willie Nelson’s 1980 cover was much more successful, peaking at No. 6 on the U.S. country charts.

Nelson brought his own flavor to “Midnight Rider” while still staying true to the song’s freewheeling spirit. “There’s something about Willie Nelson’s voice where you just believe what he’s saying, even when he’s singing a song he didn’t write,” wrote NPR in July 2020.

Remember When Willie Welcomed The Allman Brothers into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Nearly 30 years before Willie Nelson became a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the “Always On My Mind” singer inducted his friends The Allman Brothers Band into the prestigious organization. In his speech, Nelson praised Duane Allman’s “incredible guitar work, matched to Dickey Betts’ equal incredible guitar licks.”

“I’m very proud to have the honor of inducting a band that reflects so many of my sentiments about music — originality, a determination not to be confined musically or stylistically, but instead to forge your own way and make music that moves you,” he said.

Nelson added, “When you make music that’s heartfelt and real, the people will respond.”

Featured image by Rick Diamond/WireImage

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Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Tim McGraw Among the Star Paying Tribute to Late Allman Brothers Band Guitarist Dickey Betts

Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Tim McGraw Among Stars Paying Tribute to Late Allman Brothers Guitarist Dickey Betts