Country music group Alabama co-founder dies at 73

NEW YORK — Guitarist Jeff Cook, who co-founded hit country band Alabama and propelled them to the charts with hits such as “Song of the South” and “Dixieland Delight,” has died. He was 73 years old.

Cook had Parkinson’s disease and revealed his diagnosis in 2017. He died Tuesday at his home in Destin, Fla., said Don Murry Grubbs, a representative for the group.

Tributes poured in from country stars, including Travis Tritt who called Cook “awesome dude and a heckuva bass fisherman” and Charlie Daniels, who tweeted that “Heaven gained another guitarist/fiddler today”.

As a guitarist, violinist and singer, Cook — alongside his cousins ​​Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry — 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 the pop hits “Love In The First Degree” and “Feels So Right”, as well as “Tennessee River” and “Mountain Music”.

“Jeff Cook, and all the guys in Alabama, were so generous with wisdom and fun when I was able to tour with them as a young artist,” Kenny Chesney said in a statement. “They showed a kid wearing a T-shirt that country music could be rock, could be real, could be someone who looked like me. Growing up in East Tennessee, it gave me the heart of pursue that dream.”

(Photo by Donn Jones/Invision/AP, file)

Randy Owen, from left, Jeff Cook and Teddy Gentry of Alabama pose on the red carpet at the CMT ‘Artists of the Year’ on December 3, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. Cook died on November 7, 2022 at his home in Destin, Florida. He was 73 years old.

The band had a three-year run as CMA Entertainer of the Year from 1982 to 1985 and won five ACM Award Entertainer of the Year trophies from 1981 to 1985. He stopped touring with Alabama in 2018.

Cook released a handful of solo projects and toured with his Allstar Goodtime Band. He has also released collaborations with Charlie Daniels and “Star Trek” star William Shatner. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005 as a member from Alabama.

Survivors include his wife, Lisa.