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Alabama Biography

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Birth Place: Fort Payne, Alabama, U.S.
Years Active: 1972-2002
Genres: Country, Southern Rock

Alabama is a Grammy Award-winning country music and southern rock band that originated in Fort Payne, Alabama, United States. In the late '60s, Randy Owen (lead vocals), and his cousin Teddy Gentry (bass guitar, background vocals) found they both enjoyed a common interest in music. Jeff Cook (guitar, fiddle, keyboards) soon joined the duo, and eventually Mark Herndon added his skills on drums.

They started playing on a regular basis, and while still working their day jobs they started playing local establishments in the evenings.

The group used their spare time to compose, practice, and play their style of harmony and music. In 1973, after Owen's graduation from Jacksonville State University, members of the group decided to give up their day jobs and weekend gigs. The group, formerly known as "Wildcountry", left Fort Payne and Lookout Mountain to explore the possibilities of the club scene in surrounding coastal South Carolina.

They were the most commercially successful country act in the 1980s and remain one of the bestselling American musical acts of all time. The band is often credited with bringing country music groups (as opposed to solo vocalists) into the mainstream, paving the way for the success of today's top country groups. Since its foundation in 1972, Alabama has included Owen, Cook and Gentry. Herndon was hired in 1979, and the band has had the same four members ever since.

Alabama has charted sixty-four singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, of which thirty-two reached Number One. Alabama's dominance in the early- and mid-1980s is evidenced by 21 of their single releases having reached number-one on Billboard's country singles chart.

The band's longest-lasting Number One was "Jukebox in My Mind," which spent four weeks at that position in 1990. Several of the band's early-1980s releases also crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks charts, including "Love in the First Degree," "Take Me Down" and "The Closer You Get", all of which were Top 40 pop hits.

The band's blend of traditional country music and southern rock combined with elements of gospel music, and pop music gave it a crossover appeal that helped lead to their unprecedented success. They also toured extensively and incorporated production elements such as lighting and "sets" inspired by rock concerts into their shows.

The band has over 30 number one country records on the Billboard Magazine charts to their credit, and has sold over 73 million records to date. Alabama was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.