Alabama: Live Through the Years [Pictures]
Alabama have had a longstanding history of putting on one of the best shows in the country genre. Since the guys first began under the name Wildcountry in 1969, the group has been bringing their signature harmonies from bars in the South all the way up to sold-out arenas. We’ve gathered together their best live pictures from over the years.
The band recently began a new chapter of their touring life, as guitarist and fiddle player Jeff Cook has revealed he has Parkinson’s Disease and will not be going on the road anymore. He had been struggling privately with the illness for four years.
“We could hire 10 people, but we can’t replace Jeff Cook in the group Alabama,” member Teddy Gentry says. “Alabama has surpassed what any of us ever dreamed of, but I still love to play more or as much as I did [yesterday], and I know Jeff does, too.”
Cook explained his situation to the Tennessean at the time of the announcement in April 2017.
“This disease robs you of your coordination, your balance, and causes tremors,” Cook said in his statement. “For me, this has made it extremely frustrating to try and play guitar, fiddle, or sing. I’ve tried not to burden anyone with the details of my condition because I do not want the music to stop or the party to end, and that won’t change no matter what. Let me say, I’m not calling it quits, but sometimes our bodies dictate what we have to do, and mine is telling me it’s time to take a break and heal.”
Though the effects of Parkinson’s are significant, the group says Cook will continue to join them in the studio and that they hope he will be able to join them on the road again soon if his health improves.
“Whenever he can come be there, he will,” Randy Owen says. “And I think he will. I believe he will. I don’t see the future, but I feel the future.”
For now, the band will bring in other musicians to cover his parts as they continue to play live this year. Check out the gallery above to see photos of the band playing live throughout the decades.
Alabama snagged a record contract with RCA in the late ’70s and picked up steam in the ’80s with hits including “Tennessee River” and “Mountain Music,” garnering 25 No. 1 hits, 21 of which were consecutive. The Southern country rockers boast eight No. 1 albums and though they briefly disbanded in the early 2000s, they continue to be one of the most iconic bands in country music history.