Howard Duane Allman (November 20, 1946 – October 29, 1971) was an American guitarist, session musician and the primary co-founder of the southern rock group The Allman Brothers Band. He is best remembered for his brief but influential tenure in that band, his expressive slide guitar playing and improvisational skills.
A sought-after session musician both before and during his tenure with the band, Allman performed with such established stars as King Curtis, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and Herbie Mann. He also contributed heavily to the 1970 album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos.
In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Allman at #2 in their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, second only to Jimi Hendrix and in 2011 he was ranked #9. His tone (achieved with a Gibson Les Paul and two 50-watt bass Marshall amplifiers) was named one of the greatest guitar tones of all time by Guitar Player.
He died in October 1971 in a motorcycle accident. He is still referred to by his nickname "Skydog," which may be a reference to his signature guitar sound and tone. Many consider "Skydog" a variant of the nickname "Skyman" given to him by Wilson Pickett during the recording of Pickett's cover of the Beatles' "Hey Jude." Jim Dickinson was quoted in Keith Richards' autobiography Life as saying he was given the name because he was high much of the time.