June 4, 2011 • 3:30 pm

I wouldn’t have thought that an acoustic rendition of Melissa could be this good, but the Allman Brothers do a fantastic job.  This is from the last episode of The Dennis Miller Show (1992).

Note that both Gregg and Dickey are wearing cowboy boots.

The story (from SongFacts):

Gregg Allman spoke at length about this song in an interview with the San Luis Obispo (CA)Tribune on November 30, 2006: “I wrote that song in 1967 in a place called the Evergreen Hotel in Pensacola, Florida. By that time I got so sick of playing other people’s material that I just sat down and said, ‘OK, here we go. One, two, three – we’re going to try to write songs.’ And about 200 songs later – much garbage to take out – I wrote this song called ‘Melissa.’ And I had everything but the title. I thought (referring to lyrics): ‘But back home, we always run… to sweet Barbara’ – no. Diane…? We always run… to sweet Bertha.’ No, so I just kind of put it away for a while. So one night I was in the grocery store – it was my turn to go get the tea, the coffee, the sugar and all that other s–t… and there was this Spanish lady there and she had this little toddler with her – this little girl. And I’m sitting there, getting a few things and what have you. And this little girl takes off, running down the aisle. And the lady yells, Oh, Melissa! Melissa, come back, Melissa!’ And I went, ‘Oh – that’s it.’ I forgot about half the stuff I went for, I went back home and, man, it was finished, only I couldn’t really tell if it was worth a damn or not because I’d written so many bad ones. So I didn’t really show it to anybody for about a year. And then I was the last one to get to Jacksonville – I was the last one to join the band that became the Allman Brothers. And my brother sometimes late at night after dinner, he’d say, ‘Man, go get your guitar and play me that song – that song about that girl.’ And I’d play it for him every now and then. After my brother’s accident, we had 3 vinyl sides done of  Peach [“Eat a Peach”], so I thought well we’ll do that, and then on the way down there I wrote “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More.” I wrote that for my brother. We were all in pretty bad shape. I had just gotten back from Jamaica and I was weighing at about 156, 6-foot-1-and-a-half – I was pretty skinny. So we went back down there, got in the studio and finished the record. And the damn thing shipped gold.”

It was one of the songs that Gregg sang at Duane Allman’s funeral.

6 thoughts on “Melissa

  1. Note that both Gregg and Dickey are wearing cowboy boots.

    Well, sure, but they’re rednecks.
    And Warren Haynes is the class in that band.

  2. I remember learning Dickey’s studio guitar part for this song in high school when it came out and playing it endlessly. Not just the notes, but the bends, the vibrato, and the volume control fade-ins. Really nice stuff. Good song, too.

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