Chuck Leavell was asked to play piano for Allman's solo album, Laid Back (1973), and gradually found himself contributing to the Allman Brothers as well. Dickey Betts became the group's de facto leader during the recording process. "It's not like Dickey came in and said, 'I'm taking over. I'm the boss. Do this and that.' It wasn't overt; it was still supposedly a democracy, but Dickey started doing more and more of the songwriting," said road manager Willie Perkins. Brothers and Sisters was an enormous success, peaking at number one, resulting in the band becoming "the most popular band in the country." "Ramblin' Man", Betts' country-infused number, received interest from radio stations immediately, and it rose to number two on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Allman Brothers Band returned to touring, playing larger venues, receiving more profit and dealing with less friendship, miscommunication, and spiraling drug problems. This culminated in a backstage brawl when the band played with the Grateful Dead at Washington's RFK Stadium in June 1973, which resulted in the firing of three of the band's longtime roadies. The band played arenas and stadiums almost solely as their drug use escalated. In 1974, the band was regularly making $100,000 per show, and was renting the Starship, a customized Boeing 720B used by Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones. "When [we] got that goddamn plane, it was the beginning of the end," said Allman. Both Allman and Betts released top-20 solo albums in 1974 (The Gregg Allman Tour and Highway Call). The sessions that produced 1975's Win, Lose or Draw, the last album by the original Allman Brothers Band, were disjointed and inconsistent; Gregg Allman was largely living in Los Angeles and dating pop star Cher, and was, according to biographer Alan Paul, "[becoming] more famous for being famous than for his music." His vocals were recorded there, as he could not be bothered to return to Macon much. Upon its release, it was considered subpar and sold less than its predecessor; the band later remarked that they were "embarrassed" about the album.