Duane Allman’s ‘Layla’ guitar sells for record-breaking $1 million at auction

Duane Allman’s ‘Layla’ guitar sells for record-breaking $1 million at auction

Following Duane Allman‘s death in October 1971, the guitar he played on Derek and the Dominos‘ track Layla was sold in rough condition in 1977, and the owner repaired and restored it over the ensuing decades.

Now, it has been sold at auction for a record-breaking US$1 million (roughly AU$1.5 million) to an anonymous buyer.

The 1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop that Duane Allman played on the Derek and the Dominos classic Layla, has just sold for a record-breaking $1 million.

Duane Allman, who placed number 9 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists list, played the 1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop on the Derek and the Dominos 1970 classic Layla, as well as on the Allman Brothers‘ 1969 self-titled debut LP and 1970s Idlewild South.

Layla was one of the last recordings that featured Allman playing this guitar, as he swapped it for a 1959 Les Paul soon after its release. According to auction house Gotta Have Rock and Roll, “On September 16, 1970, the Allmans played a show in Duane and Gregg Allman’s hometown of Daytona, Florida. Duane, fresh off recording ‘Layla’ was, as usual, playing his ’57 Goldtop.”

“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.”

Before the auction sale, the Layla guitar had been on display at the Allman Brothers’ Big House Museum in Macon, Georgia. According to the auction house, musicians that travelled to Georgia often visited the museum to test out the guitar, including Metallica‘s Kirk Hammet and ZZ Top‘s Billy Gibbons. The Rolling Stones were also planning to borrow the guitar for a Georgia show in July this year, but the plan was nixed due to the auction.

The new owner has pledged to keep the guitar in the 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 said, “we couldn’t ask for more than that.”