The song was written by one of the band’s founding members and guitarists Dickey Betts. It is from the point of view of a man who was born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus and has been on the move, traveling and rambling ever since. It was inspired by a 1951 song of the same name by Hank Williams. The Allman Brothers released it on their 1973 album Brothers and Sisters and as a single, backed with “Pony Boy.” In 1973, it became their first and only Top 10 single. It rose to #1 on U.S. Cashbox, #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and #7 in Canada. It went to #40 in Australia.
The Allman Brothers had lost Duane Allman in 1971 in a motorcycle accident at the age of 24. They played “Rambling’ Man” on a premiere of the TV show “In Concert” in 1972 It was their first national appearance and their bass player Berry Oakley’s last performance, as he died in a motorcycle accident a week later at the age of 24.
On the album Brothers and Sisters were Gregg Allman (vocals, organ, rhythm guitar, backing vocals on “Rambling’ Man”), Dickey Betts (lead guitar, vocals on “Rambling’ Man’ and “Pony Boy,” slide guitar), Berry Oakley, bass guitar), Jai Johanny Johanson (drums, congas on “Rambling’ Man), Butch Trucks (drums, percussion, timpani, congas), Chuck Leavell (piano, backing vocals on “Rambling’ Man,” electric piano), and Lama Williams (bass guitar). The group, with changes in their lineup, recorded, toured, and performed over the decades. Their final show was on October 28, 2014. During their intermissions, a video screen displayed the following: “The road indeed goes on forever. So stay calm, eat a peach and carry on.”