"Jessica" is a rock instrumental written by Dickey Betts, guitarist of The Allman Brothers Band, and Les Dudek, who played with them soon after Duane Allman's death.
Jessica was first released on the band's 1973 album Brothers and Sisters, and has subsequently been used in many musical contexts. In January 2006, a Wall Street Journal article referred to the piece as "a true national heirloom." It is widely known as the theme to the BBC Two motoring programme Top Gear and its popular reformatted revival.
The piece, along with "Ramblin' Man", is one of the two tracks from the album which marked the beginning of a new era for the Allman Brothers Band following the deaths of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley. The song is named for Jessica Betts, the daughter of Dickey Betts and Sandy Bluesky.
The Allman Brothers Band - Jessica - 1/16/1982 - University Of Florida Bandshell:
The Allman Brothers Band was an American rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1969 by brothers Duane Allman (founder, slide guitar and lead guitar) and Gregg Allman (vocals, keyboards, songwriting), as well as Dickey Betts (lead guitar, vocals, songwriting), Berry Oakley (bass guitar), Butch Trucks (drums), and Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson (drums). The band incorporated elements of blues, jazz, and country music, and their live shows featured jam band-style improvisation and instrumentals.
The group's first two studio releases, The Allman Brothers Band (1969) and Idlewild South (1970) (both released by Capricorn Records), stalled commercially, but their 1971 live release, At Fillmore East, represented an artistic and commercial breakthrough. The album features extended renderings of their songs "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and "Whipping Post", and is considered among the best live albums ever made.
Group leader Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident later that year – on October 29, 1971, and the band dedicated Eat a Peach (1972) to his memory, a dual studio/live album that cemented the band's popularity and featured Gregg Allman's "Melissa" and Dickey Betts's "Blue Sky". Following the motorcycling death of bassist Berry Oakley exactly one year and 13 days later on November 11, 1972, the group recruited keyboardist Chuck Leavell and bassist Lamar Williams for 1973's Brothers and Sisters.