Alabama guitarist and co-founder Jeff Cook dies, aged 73

9 November 2022, 11:20

Randy Owen attends 2005 Country Music Awards

By Mayer Nissim

Alabama's guitarist Jeff Cook revealed that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease five years ago.

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Jeff Cook, the co-founder and guitarist of country rock band Alabama, has died at the age of 73.

A band representative confirmed to The Tennessean that Cook had passed away at his beachside home in Destin, Florida on Monday (November 7).

Cook had revealed in 2017 that he was battling Parkinson's disease, having been diagnosed with the disorder five years earlier.

Singer and guitarist Randy Owen and his bass playing cousin Teddy Gentry formed the group Wild Country in 1969, with Cook joining on lead guitar, fiddle and keyboards soon after.

Alabama (Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook) in 1980
Alabama (Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook) in 1980. Picture: Getty Images

After years of touring the southeast, the group changed their name to Alabama in 1977, and went on to sign a major label deal with RCA.

Alabama dominated the country charts in the 1980s, scoring an incredible 21 consecutive number ones, and 36 number ones in total.

The group's hits included 'Tennessee River','Love in the First Degree', 'Mountain Music', 'Dixieland Delight', 'If You're Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)' and 'Song of the South'.

Jeff Cook on stage in 2018
Jeff Cook on stage in 2018. Picture: Getty Images

Alabama split after a farewell tour in 2004, and Cook embarked on a solo career, including 2018's Why Not Me collaboration with Star Trek icon William Shatner.

The group reformed in 2006 to record two gospel albums and went back on the road in 2011. They released their final album Southern Drawl in 2015.