In the late '60s, cousins Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry discovered they shared a common interest in music. Joined by Jeff Cook, they started playing on a regular basis. Working their day jobs and playing any place they could locally in the evenings, the žboys in the bandÓ used what limited spare time they had to compose and practice their unique style of harmony. In 1973 coupled with Randy Owen's graduation from Jacksonville State University the band said goodbye to their daytime jobs and part-time weekend gigs. Bravely, "Wildcountry", as the band was formerly known, left their Lookout Mountain and Fort Payne roots to hone its burgeoning talent on the club scene in coastal South Carolina and the surrounding area.
During the ensuing years, playing such popular nightspots as The Bowery in Myrtle Beach, the band underwent a name change, added a new drummer named Mark Herndon in 1979 and began setting its sights on Nashville. After an appearance on the New Faces Show at the Country Radio Seminar in 1980 that also featured newcomer Reba McEntire, RCA's Joe Galante came back to his office raving about a young band he'd seen.
On April 21, 1980, Alabama signed with industry giant RCA, the label that turned the likes of Elvis Presley into a megastar and cultural icon. The label quickly pressed Alabama's autobiographical anthem "My Home's in Alabama" as a single. That May, RCA Records issued "Tennessee River" as the first No. 1 Alabama hit. Starting with "Tennessee River", they would rack up a string of 21 consecutive number-one hits. 21 more would follow, rewarding the band with 42 number one singles. Alabama became, seemingly overnight, a driving force in country music, essentially changing it forever .
The group began taking the genre in new directions and reaching out to an incredibly diverse fan base, many of whom had never before listened to country music. Alabama was among the first to court a youth market for country music. The style had been previously characterized by older consumers and mature concert audiences. With its vibrant stage energy and casual, working-class attire, the group presented a newly youthful image and thereby opened the door to the titanic sales that country music enjoyed in the 1990s. Teenage boys and 20-something men who had been sporting T-shirts emblazoned with the names of bands like Yes, Boston and Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1978 had Alabama's trademark logo across their chests by the time they left high school and graduated college a few years later. At the same time, the group's soulful southern ballads stirred emotions in women of all ages, drawing huge female audiences to their shows.
November 15th, 2005 Alabama's induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame caps one of the most astounding success stories in American entertainment. With a career that to date has resulted in 21 gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums, 42 number one singles and over 73 million records sold, Alabama has received over 150 industry awards including 8 country music "Entertainer of the Year" honors, 2 Grammys, 2 People's Choice Awards and their very own star on the "Hollywood Walk of Fame." They were named the "Artist of the Decade" by the Academy of Country Music in 1989 and "Country Group of the Century" by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1999. Theirs is an amazing career, stretching across more than two decades and for three of the guys, it's been more than 30 years.
|Official Site - Wikipedia|