Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

ALABAMA

Country-rock group from Fort Payne AL formed '69 as Wild Country; changed name '77. Jeffrey Alan Cook (b 27 Aug. '49), Randy Yeull Owen (b 13 Dec. '49), guitars; Teddy Wayne Gentry (b 22 Jan. 52), bass guitar, cousins from Fort Payne, began playing with Gentry still in school; others in day jobs. All three sing; another cousin, Jackie Owen, was first drummer. Backed visiting stars and played dances; turned to music full-time '73; signed to GRT records '77; 'I Want To Be With You' minor hit. To Dallas label MDJ '79, worked with Nashville prod. Harold Shedd; new drummer Mark Joel Herndon joined (b 11 May '55, Springfield MA); 'I Wanna Come Over' '79 made country chart top 40; 'My Home's In Alabama', written by Owen and Gentry, made top 20 '80. To RCA '80; 32 country no. 1 hits followed between 'Tennesee River' '80 and 'Reckless' '93, with several crossing over to the pop chart: 'Feels So Right' and 'Love In The First Degree' '81, 'Take Me Down' '82. Named Country Group of the Year '81--3, CMA Entertainer of the Year '82--4. As a crossover country act they had 15 years of pop chart albums on RCA '80--95; Feels So Right, Mountain Music, The Closer You Get, Roll On, 40 Hour Week '81--5 plus a greatest hits album '86 were all top 30 albums in the pop chart. Joel Whitburn's Top Country Singles says they were the no. 5 country group of the '80s and had the most consecutive no. 1 hits ('80--87) of any act since the Billboard country chart began '44. They started a trend for a modern country group sound, paving the way for Atlanta, Sawyer Brown, Restless Heart and later Confederate Railroad, Desert Rose Band and Diamond Rio; 23 CDs were listed in the Schwann catalogue '97 incl. four greatest hits sets.