Dickey Betts: Post-Brain Surgery Surprise Show

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Father and son, performing at the Grand Opera House in Macon, Dec. 31, 2018 (Photo: © Gilbert Lee; used with permission)

Dickey Betts turned 75 on December 12 while still recuperating from successful brain surgery he had on September 21 at an undisclosed hospital in his hometown of Sarasota, Fla.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported on Dec. 7 that the former Allman Brothers Band guitarist would celebrate his birthday “surrounded by loved ones” at his Little Sarasota Bay home.”

But by New Year’s Eve, Betts was tired of sitting around. He celebrated his recovery by ringing in 2019 with the Devon Allman Project featuring Duane Betts at the Grand Opera House in Macon, Ga. The 75-year-old musician enjoyed the performance from the wings of the stage and then came on to play on the Allman Brothers Band classic “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” with the band featuring his son Duane, the late Gregg Allman’s son Devon and Berry Oakley Jr., the son of the founding ABB bassist.

Related: The Allman Betts Band have a busy 2019 calendar

In a  recent AXS TV interview, the legend discussed what drove him to return to performing after hanging up his guitar in 2014. He explained, “I missed it. I just done it so long… I really started missing being on the road and, you know, getting out and doing things like this. Meeting people.” He likened his return to that of another legend, who enjoyed success after a brief hiatus, saying, “I feel kinda like Tiger Woods coming back. [After] four-and-a-half years, I’m really trying to play par, ya know. I don’t think you ever quite feel like you’re there, but I’m getting’ better at it.”

The news of Betts’ September 2018 surgery was relayed by his longtime manager, David Spero, in a statement to the Herald-Tribune: “Dickey Betts and his family want everyone to know that his surgery was a success.”

The Allman Brothers Band founding member was reportedly in critical condition following a fall last Sept. 17, at his home. It was said that the guitarist fell while playing with the family dog in his backyard and “cracked his head, causing bleeding in his brain.” At the time, Betts was listed as in “critical but stable condition.”

Spero’s Sept. 21 statement added, “The outpouring of support from all over the world has been overwhelming and amazing. We are so appreciative. Thank you all so much for your wonderful thoughts and prayers. We will keep you updated.

“Hey Dickey fans, your thoughts and prayers helped make this surgery a success.”

On Sept. 25, the Allman Brothers Band posted an update from Spero on the band’s Facebook page: “Donna just texted me that Dickey is ‘Off the respirator and doing great! Talking, laughing and, of course, complaining!’ We thank you all for your love and prayers. He still has a ways to go.”

On Sept. 22, Betts’ son, Duane Betts, wrote on his Facebook page, “So grateful today. My father has always been my hero, my mentor and my favorite guitar player in the world. I want to say thank you to all of you who have sent messages, prayed and sent good energy to my family and my dad. 🙏🏼 ”

It’s not known whether the fall had anything to do with the stroke that Betts suffered the previous month that caused him to cancel several concerts. The guitarist had come out of retirement last year. On Sept. 14, the musician’s Facebook page noted he is “raring to go” following the “minor stroke” he suffered in late August of 2018. “His recovery from his minor stroke is ahead of schedule and he has already started playing his guitar again,” the post said

The original news of his stroke came last Aug. 24: “After describing to his physicians certain post-stroke repercussions, he was strongly advised to give himself more time to recuperate. Doctors have assured Betts that after three to five weeks he will be 100 percent recovered and can resume his touring schedule.”

Watch Betts perform an Allman Brothers Band favorite in July 2018

As a member of the Allman Brothers Band, Betts wrote such classic rock favorites as “Jessica,” “Ramblin’ Man” and “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” The Allman Brothers Band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

Betts was born December 12, 1943 in West Palm Beach, Fla.

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  1. Columbo
    #1 Columbo 24 September, 2018, 10:50

    Play on.. Love you brother,

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  2. Mardifleur
    #2 Mardifleur 26 September, 2018, 09:22

    Many congratulations on the successful surgery snd wishing Mr.Betts a full and fast recovery..Best of everything to his family,loved ones and fans…..!

    Reply this comment
  3. Crush
    #3 Crush 19 February, 2019, 12:13

    Dickey always a tough hombre. No surprise he is back. Hope to see him again soon….and gotta check the offspring band.

    Reply this comment

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