The guitar Duane Allman played on Derek and the Dominoes’ classic “Layla” recently sold at auction for $1 million.
Allman, Number Nine on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists list, also played the 1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop—which had been on display at the Allman Brothers’ Big House museum in Macon, Georgia—on the Allman Brothers’ 1969 self-titled debut LP and 1970’s Idlewild South, the Macon Telegraph reports.
“Layla” was actually one of the final recordings that featured Allman playing that guitar: Soon after, the guitarist swapped it for a 1959 Les Paul.
“Duane, fresh off recording ‘Layla’ was, as usual, playing his ’57 Goldtop,” auction house Gotta Have Rock and Roll said. “The opening band was a local group called the Stone Balloon, whose guitarist, Rick Stine, was playing a 1959 cherry sunburst Les Paul, which Duane was fond of. While making ‘Layla’ he had fallen in love with Clapton’s cherry sunburst. Wanting one of his own, Duane offered to swap Les Pauls with Rick. When Rick hesitated, Allman upped the stakes, throwing in $200 and one of his regular Marshall 50 heads. Rick agreed and the deal was finalized.”
Following Allman’s death in October 1971, the now-former owner purchased the guitar in rough condition in 1977 and repaired and restored it over the ensuing decades.
According to the auction house, musicians that visited Georgia often tested out the guitar, including Metallica’s Kirk Hammett and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons; the Rolling Stones’ plan to borrow the guitar for a July 27th Georgia gig was nixed due to the auction, Gotta Have Rock and Roll said.
The anonymous, out-of-town buyer has pledged to keep it in the Big House collection for a few months a year. “It will be coming back to the Big House in late November,” Big House museum director Richard Brent told the Macon Telegraph. “We couldn’t ask for more than that.”