Country music wouldn't be the same without the presence of country super-group, Alabama, the longest reigning hit maker in country music today. The band began to form in 1973 and went through three different drummers before they settled into the group they are today. The band is comprised of lead singer, rhythm guitarist and songwriter Randy Owen; bass player, songwriter and harmony vocalist Teddy Gentry; multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Jeff Cook; and drummer Mark Herndon. Together they have sold over 58 million albums worldwide, giving them more than Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys and the Doors, and ranking them as the ninth best selling group of all time.
Alabama was signed to RCA Records in 1979 and their number one hits began showing up on the charts in 1980. The number one song 'Tennessee River' helped Alabama to become the first country group to top the charts with a debut major-label release. The group's string of three number one hits in a row followed with 'Why Lady Why' and 'Old Flame'. Alabama, with their country-rock style, quickly became the hottest act in country music. Their magic continued throughout the 80's as they gathered up awards and continued producing number one hits. They stuck by their recurring theme of love, commitment and fidelity and brought moving love ballads like 'Feels So Right', 'When We Make Love' and 'Once Upon A Lifetime' to the top spot on country music charts.
By the time the 80's were over Alabama had made their mark in the music industry. They had taken the country music charts as their own and smashed all records by a country group. They had been named Artist of the Decade by The Academy Of Country Music, and by 1990 the band had released their 25th number one single. The group began the 90's with a string of new, number one hits. 1992 brought 'I'm In A Hurry', 'Reckless' followed in 1993, 'She Ain't Your Ordinary Girl' and 'Give Me One More Shot' both took the number one spot in 1994 and the fatherhood ballad, 'In Pictures', was number one in 1995. Throughout the years Alabama played a huge role in national and local charities and fundraisers. They helped establish the 'Country Cares' fundraiser, which has raised over 130 million dollars for St. Jude.
One of the premier country music concerts in the nation is held in Fort Payne, Alabama every year. Alabama's June Jam has brought names like Vince Gill, Garth Brooks, and Neal McCoy together in one place for a true country music festival of experiences. The money earned from the concert has helped benefit organizations like The Big Oak Ranch, where orphaned, abused and neglected children are given a helping hand. Alabama was given their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 2000 they were presented with the Minnie Pearl Humanitarian Award. During the 2002 Academy of Country Music Awards, Alabama announced their plans for a farewell tour. They have spent the remainder of their time together touring the country and saying farewell to the fans they have come to love over the past 30 years.
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