Dublin Core




DeKalb County, Ft. Payne, Music, Country, Alabama Music Hall of Fame



Randy Owen (Dec. 13, 1949- ) (lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and songwriter),
Teddy Gentry (Jan. 22, 1952- ) (bass player, songwriter, and harmony vocalist)
Jeff Cook (Aug. 27, 1949- ) (multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter)
Mark Herndon (May 11, 1955- ) (drummer).

Cousins Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry, and Jeff Cook, of Ft. Payne, Alabama, formed the band Young Country in 1969 while Owen and Cook were still in high school. After graduation, the group moved to Anniston and changed their name to Wildcountry in 1972. In 1973, they moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where they were hired to play in a honky-tonk, The Bowery.

The group signed a contract with GRT in 1977 and changed its name to Alabama. That same year they released a minor hit, “I Wanna be with You Tonight.” Two years later, after using many different drummers, Mark Herndon joined the band. In 1980, the Top 20 hit, “My Home’s in Alabama,” was released by MDJ. The hit led to the group signing with RCA Records.

Alabama paved the way for groups in country music, being the first country group to top the charts with “Tennessee River” in 1980. Thus began an incredible streak of 27 No. 1 hits. Alabama dominated the charts throughout the 1980s and entered the 1990s with the hit “I’m in a Hurry.”

The group has supported many worthy causes over the years. In 1989, Owen worked with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis to create Country Cares, a network of 160 radio stations whose radio-thons raised $130 million for the hospital. In 1997, Alabama participated in the holiday benefit album, Country Cares for Kids. According to the Alabama Department of Archives and History, Alabama also hosted an annual June Jam in Fort Payne from 1982 to 1997 to benefit charities and schools.

Alabama was named the Academy of Country Music Artist of the Decade (1980s). They were inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1993. The band received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1998 and accepted the Minnie Pearl Humanitarian Award two years later. Alabama began a farewell tour in 2003, which extended into 2004. In 2005, they were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In the years since the farewell tour, the band has recorded several albums and completed many reunion tours.

Click the link to listen.


Joy Caitlin Monroe, University of North Alabama


Alabama Department of Archives and History (2016) “Alabama.” Alabama Music Hall of Fame. (2016)


Alabama Cultural Resource Survey