Gregg Allman wrote the song on an ironing board with burnt matches. He was alone and couldn’t find a pen so he managed to make do with burnt matches in the middle of the night. Gregg wrote the song when he was in Jacksonville in 1968 right after he returned from Los Angeles.
This song is about a man betrayed by his woman to the point where he became depressed and helpless — just tied to the whipping post, nothing to do but to wait for more punishment — which made this such a searing hauntingly beautiful song.
The chorus is written in 11/8 time – verser in 12/8 and when Gregg was asked about how he came to write such a song with nothing that resembles any blues or typical rock and roll, Allman replied that he’s not entirely sure;
“Man, I just stumbled onto ’em,” he said. “I really didn’t know exactly what I was doing, I just did it. My brother had to tell me that ‘Whipping Post’ was in 11/4 time; I had no idea.”
This final track on Allman Brother’s debut album became a staple of their live shows, and they’ve played it as an extended jam oftentimes and would usually improvise so it won’t sound the same twice.
Listen to the song below: