First recorded by The 31st of February (1968).
Hit album version by The Allman Brothers (1972).
From the wiki: “‘Melissa’ was written by vocalist Gregg Allman, but dates far beyond The Allman Brothers band’s inception. It was first written in 1967, and two demo versions from those years exists, including a version cut by the 31st of February, a band that also featured Butch Trucks, the Allman Brothers’ later drummer, for an album that was scrapped when the group split.
“The song had its genesis after Allman had struggled previously to create any song with substance, and ‘Melissa’ was among the first that survived after he tossed nearly 300 attempts. The song’s namesake was almost settled as ‘Delilah’ before ‘Melissa’ came to Allman in, of all places, a grocery store where he was buying milk late one night, as he told the story in his memoir, My Cross to Bear:
“It was my turn to get the coffee and juice for everyone, and I went to this twenty-four-hour grocery store, one of the few in town. There were two people at the cash registers, but only one other customer besides myself. She was an older Spanish lady, wearing the colorful shawls, with her hair all stacked up on her head. And she had what seemed to be her granddaughter with her, who was at the age when kids discover they have legs that will run. She was jumping and dancing; she looked like a little puppet. I went around getting my stuff, and at one point she was the next aisle over, and I heard her little feet run all the way down the aisle. And the woman said, ‘No, wait, Melissa. Come back—don’t run away, Melissa!’ I went, ‘Sweet Melissa.’ I could’ve gone over there and kissed that woman. As a matter of fact, we came down and met each other at the end of the aisle, and I looked at her and said, ‘Thank you so much.’ She probably went straight home and said, ‘I met a crazy man at the fucking grocery.'”
The Allman Brothers, “Melissa” (1972):