Statistically the biggest US country rock act of the 80s and 90s, Alabamas origins can be traced back to Fort Payne in northern Alabama. The band was originally formed in 1969 as Young Country by cousins Randy Owen (14 December 1949, Fort Payne, Alabama, USA; vocals/guitar) and Teddy Gentry (b. 22 January 1952, Fort Payne, Alabama, USA; bass/vocals), with Jeff Cook (b. 27 August 1949, Fort Payne, Alabama, USA; vocals/guitar). Changing their name to Wild Country, they added Bennett Vartanian (b. John Bennett Vartanian, USA, d. 27 November 2006), the first of many drummers. After several misfires at the start of their career, their big breakthrough came with a residency at a club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in 1973. Soon afterwards, they turned professional. They recorded for several small labels in the 70s before changing their name to Alabama in 1977.
The newly named bands career looked set to blossom following the Top 80...
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