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Alabama

Before Alabama, bands were usually relegated to a supporting role in country music. In the first part of the century, bands were popular with audiences across the country, but as recordings became available, nearly every popular recording artist was a vocalist, not a group. Alabama was the group that made country bands popular again. Emerging in the late '70s, the band had roots in both country and rock; in fact, many of Alabama's musical concepts, particularly the idea of a performing band, owed more to rock and pop than hardcore country. However, there is no denying that Alabama is a country band -- the bandmembers' pop instincts may come from rock, but their harmonies, songwriting, and approach are indebted to country, particularly the Bakersfield sound of Merle Haggard, bluegrass, and the sound of Nashville pop. A sleek, country-rock sound made the group the most popular country group in history, selling more records than any other artist of the '80s and earning stacks of awards.

First cousins Randy Owen (born December 14, 1949; lead vocal, rhythm guitar) and Teddy Gentry (born January 22, 1952; vocals, bass) form the core of Alabama. Owen and Gentry grew up on separate cotton farms on Lookout Mountain in Alabama, but the pair learned how to play guitar together; the duo also had sung in church together before they were six years old. On their own, Gentry and Owen played in a number of different bands during the '60s, playing country, bluegrass, and pop on different occasions. During high school, the duo teamed with another cousin, Jeff Cook (born August 27, 1949; lead guitar, vocals, keyboards, fiddle), to form Young Country in 1969. Before joining his cousins, Cook had played in a number of bands and was a rock & roll DJ. Young Country's first gig was at a high-school talent contest; performing a Merle Haggard song, the band won first prize -- a trip to the Grand Ole Opry. However, the group was fairly inactive as Owen and Cook went to college.

After Owen and Cook graduated from college, they moved with Gentry to Anniston, AL, with the intention of keeping the band together. Sharing an apartment, the band practiced at night and performed manual labor during the day. They changed their name to Wildcountry in 1972, adding drummer Bennet Vartanian to the lineup. The following year, they made the decision to become professional musicians, quitting their jobs and playing a number of bars in the Southeast. During this time, they began writing their own songs, including "My Home's in Alabama." Vartanian left soon after the band turned professional; after losing four more drummers, Rick Scott was added to the lineup in 1974.

Wildcountry changed its name to Alabama in 1977, the same year the band signed a one-record contract with GRT. The resulting single, "I Wanna Be With You Tonight," was a minor success, peaking in the Top 80. Nevertheless, the single's performance was an indication that Alabama was one of the most popular bands in the Southeast; at the end of the decade, the band was playing over 300 shows a year. After "I Wanna Be With You Tonight," the group borrowed $4,000 from a Fort Payne bank, using the money to record and release its own records, which were sold at shows. When GRT declared bankruptcy a year after the release of "I Wanna Be With You Tonight," the bandmembers discovered that they were forbidden from recording with another label because of a hidden clause in their contract. For two years, Alabama raised money to buy out its contract. In 1979, the group was finally able to begin recording again. That same year, Scott left the band. Scott was replaced by Mark Herndon, a former rock drummer who helped give Alabama its signature sound.

Later in 1979, Alabama self-recorded and released an album, hiring an independent record promoter to help get radio play for the single "I Wanna Come Over." The band also sent hundreds of hand-written letters to program directors and DJs across the country. "I Wanna Come Over" gained the attention of MDJ Records, a small label based in Dallas. MDJ released the single, and it reached number 33 on the charts. In 1980, MDJ released "My Home's in Alabama," which made it into the Top 20. Based on the single's success, Alabama performed at the Country Music New Faces show, where the band was spotted by an RCA Records talent scout, who signed the group after the show.

Alabama released its first RCA single, "Tennessee River," late in 1980. Produced by Harold Shedd, the song began a remarkable streak of 21 number one hits (interrupted by the 1982 holiday single "Christmas in Dixie"), which ran until 1987; after one number seven hit, the streak resumed for another six singles, resulting in a total of 27 number one singles during the decade. Taken alone, the amount of chart-topping singles is proof of Alabama's popularity, but the band also won numerous awards, had seven multi-platinum albums, and crossed over to the pop charts nine times during the '80s.

In the '90s, their popularity declined somewhat, yet they were still having hit singles and gold and platinum albums with regularity. Even after their dissolution in 2003, it's unlikely that any other country group will be able to surpass the success of Alabama. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Livin' Lovin' Rockin' Rollin'

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Track List: Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way (Radio Single)

Comments

teresajensen 1 8
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However If you don't post this you will die in two days. Now you've started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes when done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it works!
Sounds like me
Roll on
Don't let it get in your shoes!!!!!!! ! :)
I'm in a hurry to get to the john I rush & rush but I craped a big one all I had to do was hold it in side but I didn't make it now it runs down my thiegh.: don't know why I ate such a snack I got to clean out my slacks there not new but I had things to do now it's a quarter to two,(chorus) now I'm late I smell like a toilet and every ones laughing at my state,no toilet paper and my pants are in the waste...
song of the south
Love it
dodea48
Born Country usually means AA - adultery and addiction
Love this
I love them
Anyone who's real name is Taylor and I was talking to u this morning please text me
Awesome song right there
Song of the South is the best!
SO TRUE IF I COULD HEAR MY MOTHER PRAY AGAIN. I KNOW SHE IS AT PEACE AND RESTING. MISS HER SO MUCH.
jeffnconnie6 4
I love Alabama!!
I love their song roll on
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. However if you don't read this you will die in two days. Now that you've started reading this don't stop. This is so scary. Put this on five songs in the next 143 min. when your done press F6 an your lovers name will pop up on your screen in big letters. Trust me it works
I love alabama
song of the south
wildmanjames 1 9 8 3
The very first cd that I ever bought was Alabamas greatest hits. Best group ever! I still have the cd set.
IMO, quite possibly the best country band ever.
henrysarko
Takoma what other stations do you listen to
Grandparents were born and raised in fort Payne Alabama they new the guys from Alabama well back in the good ol days
Never be any one like'm
that would be cool they are an awesome group
shillsr
just wished the boys were still going
Wanta talk I'm on please comment me
Alrighty people this guy is so bored I beg anyone to message me I ain't gonna bite lol plz message me I'm fun to talk to but really bored so hurry lol XD
Proud to say my moms side came from the south, and one day I'll be starting my owm family out there.
LOVE THIS SONG ,THANK YOU!!!!!!
HihoE
Higowaeyuu
I love this band hoping to see them in a couple months in concert In September in Salt Lake City utah
Its byway, not bighway...
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed by the love
of your life on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop.
This is so scary put this on 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come onto the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works ( sorry, i dont think this works)
I'm In A Hurry
Ok
Jjoann lovers ît
im in a hurry to get things done
@ big58red: So am I brother...!!
I am a REDNECK
I you to love the song when I was young I had lion king a v.h.s tape God I'm a lot older now how old was I then
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you started reading this do don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this so scary because it actually works
Beautiful!
Love them and this song
Yes this is the right words to this song this is the original version
Lol
Love this song but these are not the right words to this song
I can't get enough of this song ... lovin' it!
Love it forever
Show more

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