The Story Behind The Writing Of ‘My Only True Friend’
Listening to Scott Sharrard tell the story of the process behind bringing My Only True Friend to Gregg Allman’s Southern Blood album, the song represents a fascinating full circle. Consider this: Scott found the initial inspiration for the song within a dream following a late-night writing session with Gregg. Dreams, of course, was the first that captured the attention of the Allman Brothers when Gregg began presenting songs that he had written to the ABB back in 1969.
As Scott shares in this podcast segment, the vivid dream he had that night at Gregg’s house in Savannah featured a conversation taking place between Gregg and his brother, Duane. When Scott shared what he had started writing with Gregg, he was unaware of Gregg’s cancer diagnosis. Over the next two years, the song went through a process of evolution – eventually becoming the first page of the goodbye letter Gregg shared with the world through the Southern Blood album.
Two days stand out as landmark moments in bringing the finalized song to the album. The first happened in New York prior to a writing session when Gregg shared the news of his terminal diagnosis with Scott, who became part of a small circle to know that his mentor and friend had a finite amount of time left on the earth. It was also during this writing session that Gregg played Tim’s Buckley’s Once I Was for Scott.
The final turning point for My Only True Friend took place the night before the song was scheduled to be recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals. Throughout the rehearsal process for the song at the studio, Scott could see that Gregg had become frustrated because, in his view, the song was missing something. Marc Quiñones, the long-time percussionist with the ABB who had joined the Gregg Allman Band, suggested that Scott write a third verse for the song to see if that could fill the void for Gregg.
Knowing that it could be a make-or- break moment for a song which would be a vital element in the Southern Blood album, Scott faced down the deadline pressure and created the last verse of the opening song of Gregg’s farewell album. You can hear the story of behind bringing My Only True Friend and Once I Was to the Southern Blood album below.