The heyday of Southern rock in the 1970s began with the 1973 release of the Allman Brothers Band’s Brothers and Sisters album, with its major hit "Ramblin' Man", and other Southern inflected tunes like "Jessica". This album was a departure from previous Allman Brothers work, which until the death of band leader Duane Allman in late October 1971 had been purely blues rock. Dickey Betts' song "Blue Sky", which had appeared on the 1972 Eat a Peach album, was the one song recorded during the Duane Allman era that could in retrospect be seen as a bridge to Southern rock. Betts' ascension as band leader following the death of Allman and then Berry Oakley, the band’s original bassist, turned the direction of the band — and American pop music in general — toward a more Southern-fried sound.
The Marshall Tucker Band was also known to incorporate instruments such as the flute and saxophone into their country rock sound. Other acts associated with the first wave of Southern rock were Elvin Bishop, Wet Willie, ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd. In the early 1970s, another wave of hard rock Southern groups emerged. Their music emphasized boogie rhythms and fast guitar leads with lyrics extolling the values, aspirations – and excesses – of Southern working-class young adults, like the outlaw country movement. The music itself is heavily influenced by the late '60s electric rock music scene.
The 1990s also saw the influence of Southern rock. The Black Crowes, who were from Atlanta, Georgia, blended the sound of bands like Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones with the southern touch of the Allman Brothers Band. Additionally, alternative rock groups like Kings of Leon combine Southern rock with garage rock, alt-country, and blues rock. Several of the original early 1970s hard rock Southern rock groups are still performing today, such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Marshall Tucker Band, Molly Hatchet, ZZ Top, and Wet Willie. The members of the Allman Brothers Band decided to stop playing in 2014 and continue with different projects like Government Mule and the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Since about 2017 the Allman Betts Band with Devon Allman and Duane Betts, sons of the original Allman Brothers Band members Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts started touring, thus the baton has been passed to the next generation. .