Writer: Gregg Allman
Producer: Tom Dowd
Recorded: December 1971 at Criteria Studios, Miami, Florida
Released: February 1972
|Players:||Gregg Allman — vocals, piano, organ, acoustic guitar
Dickey Betts — guitar
Berry Oakley — bass
Butch Trucks — drums
Jaimoe — drums, congas
|Album:||Eat A Peach (Capricorn)|
Allman Brothers Band cofounder and guitarist Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident on October 29th, 1971, while the band was working on songs for the Eat A Peach album.
Drummer Butch Trucks says the song was one of Duane Allman's particular favorites: “I remember when I first met Duane and Gregg (Allman). (Gregg) had just written this song. This was 1968, or '67. We'd sit in their house in Daytona Beach and get really stoned, and Duane just fell in love with that song. He'd sit there and say, 'Sing “Melissa,”' and we'd sit there and Greg would just sing that song over and over, and we'd hear it eight or ten times every night.”
Trucks adds that “Melissa” was the first song Gregg Allman ever wrote. “He had the idea and the song moving along. But he couldn't come up with a name for it. He wanted it to be some girl, and he went down to the local 7-11 and some lady in there was screaming for her daughter — 'Hey, Melissa! Melissa!' That clicked. Gregg said, 'That's it! That's the name,' and went back home and wrote it.”
It took awhile for the band to consider recording the song, Trucks says. “I think Gregg actually sold the song to some people in Miami at one point…Then Gregg bought it back and worked out some kind of deal. After Duane died, we had to record it. It's Duane's favorite song…It's a beautiful song.”
“Melissa” peaked at Number 86 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The Eat A Peach album has sold well over a million copies and peaked at Number Four on the Billboard 200 chart in 1972.