Berry Oakley was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew in the Windy City suburbs. Later he moved to Florida's west coast where he met and joined Dickey Betts's band, The Second Coming. That band morphed into The Allman Brothers Band in 1969, along with guitarists Duane Allman and Dickey Betts. Gregg Allman playes keyboards and sang lead vocals and the drummers/percussionists were Butch Trucks and Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson.
Oakley was known for his long, melodic bass runs that formed a throbbing foundation underneath Allman and Betts' furious guitar solos and jams. The Live album "At Fillmore East" is one of the greatest live albums ever recorded." Oakley was also the band member most involved in establishing domestic unity among the band's extended family. When Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident on October 29, 1971, Oakley was devastated. On November 11, 1972, Oakley was involved in a motorcycle accident in Macon, just three blocks from where Duane Allman had his fatal motorcycle accident the year before. He did not survive the accident.