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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 had also 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, Alabama, 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 their 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 their 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, and it's unlikely that any other country group will be able to surpass the success of Alabama. The group disbanded in 2006 following a farewell tour and two albums of gospel , 2006's Songs of Inspiration and 2007's Songs of Inspiration, Vol. 2, but reunited in 2011. A third gospel album, Angels Among Us: Hymns & Gospel Favorites, was released by Gaither Music in 2014. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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)

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Track List: Wasn’t Through Lovin’ You Yet (Single)

Comments

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shireioh419
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God I love roll on
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phoenixmommy 5 4 8
One of my favorite song's...
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bruceneill45
Those were the days !��
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Listening to jerry reed radio and the Beatles Come Together comes on !
I like the Beatles but where is the connection?? I think someone@ Pandora is asleep at the switch!!
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Read my bio
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Some real deal cuntry right here!
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Roll On
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What the f**k is this I.thought this was America this is not Alabama again rap dose not belong in country !!!!
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wa_1227
I love this song because it has my name
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wa_1227
me and my brother's always listen to it when we are bored
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wa_1227
This song is so good
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ndbruce3591
Troy gentry loves you
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ndbruce3591
I love you Randy
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A real favorite by Alabama. His Eye is on the Sparrow.
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Love this song, yes, yes.
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ndbruce3591
Ron loves this song
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Terry is my friend at meat heads
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piercekirk
Randy Owens and the bass player did coke off my pool table
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Great song
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If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again...how true!
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Alabama is a great band, but an even better place 2 live. I'm TN born & raised, but I have loved living in Alabam 4 all these years. Gonna stay in Alabama as long as GOD allows. :D :D :D. Still, I'm a "VOLS" fan. I'm 4 the "Crimson Tide" 'til they R playing Tennessee. ;) ;)
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My life in hurry to get things all I do is rush rush lol ��
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When I hear them sing " Roll On ", I smile and feel so proud at having been the daughter of an independent trucker! As a pilot ( airfreight), I know that the only difference between our jobs is the fact that we are airborne! The words to that song are like taking a page out of my diary of memories!! My hat is still off to the long haul and independent truckers!!
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This song. Made me cry i lost someone. So vary dear to me 23 yrs ago this song. Exspains. Truly something better left. Unknown. Life. Is. The dance bitter sweet
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by Alabama
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love Dixieland delight
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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 started 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 in big letters this is so scary because it actually works
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I love this song. I had a operation took a brain tumor out of my head a size of a naval orange. Sang this song on Sunday at our church being alive.
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Love Alabama! Follow me!
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LOVE!!!!!!!
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this song is there pretiest song that i know love their voices
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i love this song and band they right the pretiest songs
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My life! Need not be in a hurry so often! Enjoy the small things a little more.
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Alabama is my group of country people
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fairyangel7
No other sound in the world like Alabama. I love them more every time I hear them. Face to Face is my all time favourite, it brings back some wonderful memories of my late fiance. Thank you for all you give us, you are special... smilezzz xx
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autotech36.d j
Pew de pie sux
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My band director at my school was actually a member for a while. I'm not sure if he was just session or what but he went and played at their reunion tour a couple of years back
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One of the best bands ever.
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I am a black woman from NYC, IM 47 years old & grew up listening country music along with lots of other music, but I must say that i have a special place in my heart for Country music. Love Alabama my dad's is from Selma, one of my absolute favorites is Elvira!!! You guys rock that so like every other one but that's my all time favorite
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grow up courage05
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My third favorite band
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Alabama just makes you tap your feet!!!!!
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As the daughter of an independent trucker, the song, " Roll On " rings so true. When I couldn't be with him on the road, Mom and I dreaded "THAT" phone call when weather was not at its best or worrying about breakdowns &etc. "Long before cell phones!!" Used to listen to WRVA -truckers know! As a freight pilot wouldn't have a job without you all running 24/7!Thank you & stay safe!
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leenliz4
Best damn band ever
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Right, my DIXIELAND ladies? ??
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Dixieland DELIGHTS. ..that's us "Southern gals"... we R de BEST! ;-)♡ ;-)♡ ;-)♡
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Alabama you kick a**;)
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I Love you
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First concert I ever went to was Alabama and loved this song as a young kid back in the day
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