Eat a Peach is a double album by The Allman Brothers Band; it was the last to include founding member and lead slide-guitar player Duane Allman, who was killed in a motorcycle accident on October 29, 1971 while the album was being recorded. It was released on February 12, 1972
The album cover was by Jim Holmes and David Powell of Wonder Graphics
“The images on the cover are found art,” says David. “They came from postcards we picked up in a drugstore in Athens, Georgia. The postcards had the trucks with the giant peach and watermelon. I added lettering with the band name to the trucks, and pasted the cards onto a background, spray-painted pink and blue”
Inside the gatefold sleeve, Powell and his college buddy Jim Holmes collaborated on a painting of a mushroom wonderland teeming with strange creatures. “It owes a lot in inspiration to Heironymous Bosch,” says Powell, then adds with a chuckle, “I don’t want to reveal the background psychotropics that were involved, but we were not in a particularly rational state of mind”
What does the album title refer to?
As often happens, fans’ search for a sensible explanation behind a seemingly cryptic title (and their gruesome fascination with the deaths of pop stars) gave birth to a morbid legend. None of the songs on Eat a Peach included any titular or lyrical references to peaches, so what did the name of the LP mean? The story the public decided upon was that it referred to Duane’s fatal crash, an accident in which he had supposedly smashed into the side of a peach truck
It’s an entertaining (if macabre) story, but Duane’s accident had nothing to do with a truck carrying peaches, even if it took place in Georgia, the state most strongly identified with that fruit. Rather more prosaically, he died trying to avoid running into a flatbed truck bearing a lumber crane
So, then, since the Eat a Peach album title had was not connected to Duane’s accident, what did it refer to? A good guess might be that it was taken from a T.S. Eliot poem, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, which includes the following lines:
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each
Alas, the real answer is not quite so literary. The title is an allusion to a statement Duane Allman once made during a magazine interview:
The real story is that the title came from one of Duane’s throwaway lines in an interview. “How are you helping the revolution?” Ellen Mandel of Good Times Magazine had asked him. “I’m hitting a lick for peace,” Duane responded. “And every time I’m in Georgia, I eat a peach for peace”
The ancillary legend that the back cover art for Eat a Peach was a reference to the death of bassist Berry Oakley (who supposedly crashed his motorcycle into a watermelon truck) is just as spurious. Oakley’s fatal accident involved a city bus, not a watermelon truck and, oh yes, the album was released in February 1972, a full nine months before Oakley’s fatal accident!
Eat A Peach was voted by Rolling Stone as one of the Top 100 Album Covers of All-Time in 1991