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Alabama is a soft-rock/ bluegrass/ American country band from Fort Payne, Alabama. The lineup that the band held for most of its career consists of Mark Herndon, Jeff Cook, Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry.
Cousins Randy Owen (lead vocalist/ guitar), and Teddy Gentry (backing vocals/ bass) formed the band, and together they recruited their other cousin Jeff Cook (guitar/ fiddle/ keyboard) in 1969. In 1972 the band got a gig playing as the opening act for various other artists at Canyonland Theme Park, however it was not enough to make a living out of, so the three members pursued various other jobs, putting the band on the backburner.
In March 1973 the band decided to pursue music professionally and the trip moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and performed six nights a week at the Bowery. They also took out a loan in order to record and release their own album to sell at their shows, and to send out as demos to labels. In 1977 the band caught a break with GRT Records signing them, but when the label declared bankruptcy after releasing the one record in their contract, the band was also contractually forbidden to record with another label.
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It wasn’t until 1979 when the band was able to self-record and release another album entitled “Alabama Band No. 3;” additionally, Mark Herndon stepped in as drummer to replace Rick Scott. They self-promoted their single “I Wanna Come Over” and eventually the band was able to grab the attention of Dallas based label, MDJ Records. Their second single “My House’s In Alabama” was extremely successful as well, reaching mainstream attention reaching the top 20. It also caught the attention of RCA records, with whom they signed a contract with in 1980.
While with RCA, Alabama had the luxury of creative freedom, and was able to tour extensively after the successful release of more singles. Their release of “Mountain Magic” in 1982 was found with HUGE success, going quadruple platinum with over 6 million copies sold, consequently launching the band into super stardom. By January 1986 the band had a number of hits, allowing RCA to release a Greatest Hits compilation.
Despite their albums still reaching gold and silver statuses, and selling millions of copies, the band’s popularity started to decline in the 1990s. Despite the decline, however, the band was still finding continued success with sales of their singles and shows. By May 2002 the band announced a farewell tour, collecting over $15 million in ticket sales alone.