"The Boys From Fort Payne"
— 2006 Country Music Hall of Fame Inductee —
In the late '60s, cousins Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry discovered they shared a common interest in music. Joined by Jeff Cook, they started playing on a regular basis. Working their day jobs and playing any place they could locally in the evenings, "The Boys In The Band" used what limited spare time they had to compose and practice their unique style of harmony.
In 1973, in tandem with Randy Owen's graduation from Jacksonville State University, The Band said goodbye to their daytime jobs and part-time weekend gigs. Bravely, "Wildcountry", as the band was known, left their Lookout Mountain and Fort Payne roots and began perfecting their live performance skills in the club scene around coastal South Carolina playing such popular nightspots as the Bowery in Myrtle Beach.
In 1977 The Band changed it's name to the Alabama Band, and followed that in 1979 by adding drummer Mark Herndon, setting its sights on Nashville. After an appearance on the New Faces Show at the Country Radio Seminar in 1980 RCA's Joe Galante came back to his office raving about a young band he'd seen.
On April 21, 1980, Alabama signed with industry giant RCA. The label quickly pressed Alabama's autobiographical anthem "My Home's in Alabama" as a single. That May, RCA Records issued "Tennessee River" as the first No. 1 Alabama Hit. Starting with "Tennessee River", they would rack up a string of 21 consecutive number-one hits. 21 more would follow, rewarding The Band with 42 number one singles.
Alabama became, seemingly overnight a driving force in country music, essentially changing it forever. The Group began taking the genre in new directions and reaching out to an incredibly diverse fan base, many of who had never before listened to country music. A self-contained band that played their instruments and sang, Alabama influenced an entire generation of country groups along the way.
May 7th, 2006 Alabama was officially inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame.