Artist of the Month--Alabama
Alabama first formed in 1969 under the name Wildcountry with cousins Randy Owen, Jeff Cook and Teddy Gentry in Fort Payne, Alabama. The group eventually brought drummer Mark Herndon on board in the late ‘70s.
They changed their name to Alabama in 1977 and recorded two Top 40 hits for the MDJ label before signing to RCA in 1980 and releasing “My Home’s In Alabama,” which featured the chart-topping hit title cut as well as “Tennessee River” and “Why Lady Why.” It was certified double platinum. Their sophomore album, “Feels So Right,” was certified quadruple platinum and contained the hits “Old Flame,” “Love in the First Degree” and the title cut. “Mountain Music,” the band’s third album, was certified five times platinum and produced the hits “Take Me Down,” “Close Enough to Perfect” and the title cut. The band continued to release hit albums and singles throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, producing over 40 No. 1 hit singles.
With more than 73 million albums sold, Alabama has more No. 1 records than any band in country-music history and has sold more concert tickets than any other country group. Throughout their career, they have received more than 150 industry awards, and were named Country Group of the Century by the RIAA in 1999.
In 1998, the band was honored with its own star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 2000, they were presented with the Minnie Pearl Humanitarian Award. The band announced their farewell tour during the Academy of Country Music awards in 2002, and spent most of 2003 saying good-bye to the fans.
In 2005, they were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The following year, they notched a No. 1 country album, “Songs of Inspiration.”
The band parted ways with drummer Mark Herndon in 2008 during a very public and nasty lawsuit. Randy Owen released his first solo album, “One on One” in 2008. Produced by John Rich, the project includes the single, “Like I Never Broke Her Heart.” Owen also released his autobiography, “Born Country,” named after an Alabama single that was released at the end of 1991.
Alabama returned to the studio in 2010 to record “Are You Sure Hank Done It That Way” as part of a Waylon Jennings tribute album. “The Music Inside – A Collaboration Dedicated To Waylon Jennings Vol. I,” which hit shelves in February 2011.
Alabama reunited for more than a dozen concerts in 2012. The reunion shows came after Cook, Gentry and Randy Owen were featured on Brad Paisley’s No. 1 single, “Old Alabama.” Longtime drummer Mark Herndon was not involved in the shows. The three founding members are also planning to record a new album.
2013 will mark the 40th anniversary of Alabama’s first performance. To celebrate the milestone, the group is planning the “Alabama & Friends Festival at Sea,” expected to take place in October. Fans can sign up to be notified of details by signing up at www.alabamafestivalatsea.com.
Official website: www.thealabamaband.com