Johnny Sandlin, an early Allman Brothers Band musical collaborator who later produced their multi-platinum Brothers and Sisters album, has died at age 72. He had been battling cancer, according to Variety.

Sandlin played drums on a pair of late-'60s albums with the Hour Glass, a precursor to the Allman Brothers Band, but bandmates Gregg and Duane Allman later distanced themselves from that group's pop-leaning songs. Sandlin went on to session work at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala., before beginning a successful stint as an engineer, producer, A&R man and vice president at Capricorn Records.

His connection with the Allmans continued to blossom at Phil Walden's Macon, Ga.-based label. Sandlin's very first project for Capricorn was Johnny Jenkins' Ton Ton Macoute!, which featured Duane Allman on lead guitar.

Born on April 16, 1945, in Decatur, Ala., John Everett "Johnny" Sandlin Jr. served as engineer on the Allman Brothers Band's 1970 breakthrough recording At Fillmore East, as well as 1971's Eat a Peach, their last with Duane. Still recovering from this tragic loss, the band turned to Sandlin to co-produce 1973's Brothers and Sisters, which became the Allman Brothers Band's bestselling album.

He also produced 1975's Win, Lose or Draw, before the group took a break. Sandlin continued working with group members and offshoot bands for the remainder of his career, beginning with Gregg Allman's 1973 solo debut, Laid Back.

He collaborated on Dickey Betts' first solo project, 1974's Highway Call; with Gregg on 1977's Two the Hard Way and 1995's Searching for Simplicity; with Derek Trucks on his self-titled 1997 debut album; and with Chuck Leavell on 1998's What's in the Bag and 2001's Forever Blue.

By then, Sandlin had reached an entirely new generation of fans through his work with the Athens, Ga.-based Widespread Panic. He helped oversee both their 1988 debut, Space Wrangler, and 1993's Everyday, while serving as sole producer on the band's self-titled 1991 sophomore release.

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