Alabama Artistfacts

  • 1969-
    Randy OwenLead vocals, rhythm guitar1969-
    Teddy GentryBass guitar, vocals1969-
    Jeff CookLead guitar, fiddle, keyboards1969-
    Mark HerndonDrums, percussion1979-2004
    Rick ScottDrums, percussion1974-1979
    Bennett VartanianDrums, percussion1972-1974
    Jackie OwenDrums, percussion1969-1972
  • Owen, Gentry, and Cook are all cousins who hail from Fort Payne, Alabama, and started making music together as children. As adults, they would become one of the best-selling bands of all time (across all genres).
  • They started out under the name Wildcountry and moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to perform for rowdy crowds at The Bowery club.
  • Starting with 1980's "Tennessee River," the band enjoyed a hot streak of 25 #1 singles on the country chart throughout the decade, only interrupted briefly by "Tar Top," which landed at #7 in 1987.
  • Teddy Gentry worked many odd jobs while trying to make it as a musician. He was even a full-time carpet installer. Owen also took on physical jobs, like painting, bricklaying and hanging sheet rock.
  • In 1980, after Alabama had its first blush of success with an RCA record deal, Gentry bought his grandfather's cotton farm. The following year he purchased the neighboring farm that had belonged to his great-grandfather.
  • The band was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
  • Jeff Cook is a popular guy in Alabama. He founded Cook Sound Studios to help aspiring musicians cut demos and records at an affordable price. The state's governor also appointed him "Alabama State Fishing Ambassador" and proclaimed August 27th as Jeff Cook Day in the state.
  • In 2008, bronze statues of the band members, including drummer Mark Herndon, were erected in Fort Payne, Alabama.
  • Owen was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010 and was declared cancer-free in 2013.
  • Alabama were the first country act to earn quadruple-platinum status, for sales of four million copies of an album. Two of their long players achieved the landmark on July 30, 1985, Feels So Right and Mountain Music.


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