Country Stars Mourn Alabama's Jeff Cook

'Heaven gained another guitar/fiddle player today'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 8, 2022 5:13 PM CST
Alabama Co-Founder Jeff Cook Dies at 73
Guitarist and fiddle player Jeff Cook from the band Alabama appears on stage at the concert "Sing me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard" in Nashville, Tenn., on April 6, 2017.   (Photo by Al Wagner/Invision/AP, File)

Guitarist Jeff Cook, who co-founded the country group Alabama and steered them up the charts with such hits as "Song of the South" and "Dixieland Delight," has died. He was 73. Cook had Parkinson's disease and disclosed his diagnosis in 2017. He died Tuesday at his home in Destin, Florida, said Don Murry Grubbs, a representative for the band. Tributes poured in from country stars including Travis Tritt, who called Cook "a great guy and one heckuva bass fisherman," and Charlie Daniels, who tweeted that "Heaven gained another guitar/fiddle player today," the AP reports.

As a guitarist, fiddle player, and vocalist, Cook—alongside cousins Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry—landed eight No. 1 songs on the country charts between spring 1980 and summer 1982, according to the Country Music Hall of Fame. That run included the pop crossover hits "Love In The First Degree" and "Feels So Right," as well as "Tennessee River" and "Mountain Music." "Jeff Cook, and all of the guys in Alabama, were so generous with wisdom and fun when I got to tour with them as a young artist," Kenny Chesney said in a statement. “They showed a kid in a T-shirt that country music could be rock, could be real, could be someone who looked like me. Growing up in East Tennessee, that gave me the heart to chase this dream."

The band had a three-year run as CMA Entertainer of the Year from 1982 to 1985 and earned five ACM Award Entertainer of the Year trophies from 1981 to 1985. Cook stopped touring with Alabama in 2018. He released a handful of solo projects and toured with his Allstar Goodtime Band. He also released collaborations with Charlie Daniels and Star Trek star William Shatner. Cook entered the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005 as a member of Alabama.

(Read more obituary stories.)

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