The group Alabama had its origin in a band formed in Fort Payne Alabama by cousins Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry which soon included another cousin Jeff Cook. In 1973, they decided to pursue music full time and relocated to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where they played at the Bowery as Wildcountry and released three independent albums. They were signed to a record company and had their first national chart single “I Wanna Be With You Tonight” in 1977, using the name Alabama.
After a succession of drummers, Mark Herndon joined as drummer in 1979. Their top twenty hit “My Home’s In Alabama” on the small MDJ label enabled them to play the Country Radio Seminar’s New Faces Show in 1980, which led to their signing by RCA records. RCA released an amazing string of 21 consecutive #1 singles by the group, a record for any genre.
Alabama won country music’s highest honor, the “Entertainer of the Year” award for three consecutive years (1982-1984) from the Country Music Association and for five consecutive years (1981-1985) from the Academy of Country Music. They were named the “Favorite Country Band/Duo/Group” by the American Music Awards seventeen times. By 1998, Alabama has reached #1 on one or more national charts 41 times; these songs were included with some new ones on an album “For The Record”.
Alabama changed country music as the first self contained band to be accepted in the format; before Alabama, country “groups” were only vocal groups. Alabama was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. They have won numerous Grammy, American Music Awards, Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music Awards, including the award as ACM’s 1980’s “Artist of the Decade”. Their biggest hits including “Feels So Right”, “Love in The First Degree” and “Take Me Down”, were successful on Top 40, as well as country radio.
Alabama performed a Farewell Tour in 2003-2004. At the 2011 ACM Awards show, Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook reunited to perform with Brad Paisley on his #1 hit “Old Alabama” on which they appeared as guest vocalists. In 2013 the three released a “Alabama and Friends” album, with guests including Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney and Florida Georgia Line, and mounted a “Back To The Bowery” tour.