Alabama co-founding member Jeff Cook dies at 73

Jeff Cook, co-founding member of Trendsetting Country Music Hall of Fame bandaged Alabamadied Monday at the age of 73.

For a decade, Cook battled Parkinson’s disease, a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement and causes tremors. He publicly revealed his diagnosis in 2017.

A rep for the band confirmed his death Tuesday afternoon to The Tennessean. Cook died at his beachside home in Destin, Florida.

As a guitarist, fiddler and singer in Alabama, Cook alongside cousins ​​Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry helped sketch out a blueprint for what a successful band can achieve in country music. He and the band completed this skit with a host of hits now considered country music staples by many: “Song of the South”, “Mountain Music”, “I’m In A Hurry”, “Cheap Seats” , and “My Home’s In Alabama”, among many others.

Alabama's Jeff Cook performs during Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam XX: A Tribute to Charlie at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday, March 8, 2018.

Hailing from the small town of Fort Payne, Alabama, Cook began pursuing his love of music over the airwaves as a disc jockey in his hometown. In 1969 he co-founded the band Young Country alongside Owen and Gentry, planting the seeds for what later grew in Alabama. In the mid-1970s, the cousins ​​performed as Wildcountry, cutting their teeth in nearby towns. like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where the band embraced a balance of country songwriting and Southern rock sensibilities during long nights inside local club the Bowery.

The group adopted a new name in 1977: Alabama. Two years later—after a string of modest radio hits and the adoption of full-time drummer Mark Herndon—Cook, Owen and Gentry accepted an invitation to play the showcase for “New Faces” at the company’s annual seminar. country radio in Nashville.

What came next? This might as well be country music history.

The band signed a deal later that year with RCA, beginning a remarkable run up the country radio charts. Alabama landed eight No. 1 songs on the country charts between the spring of 1980 and the summer of 1982, according to the Country Music Hall of Fame. This series included pop crossover hits “Love In The First Degree” and “Feels So Right,” as well as “Tennessee River” and “Mountain Music” — staple songs from Alabama that the band continued to play for decades. .

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