For A Band With Over 40 Number One Hits, Why Does It Feel Like Alabama Is Still Underrated?

Randy Owen, Jeff Cook on stage

I was raised on country music, which means that while I loved Justin Bieber and One Direction as a teen, I was also in love with Garth Brooks, Trace Adkins, and, of course, Alabama.

And for the longest time, Alabama was my favorite.

They were even #1 on my concert bucket list, which I was able to check off when I saw them at the Florida Strawberry Festival.

From songs about love and heartbreak to story songs to songs about country life and hard work, Alabama has sung them all.

They have songs for everyone, no matter your country taste, and their music is sonically cohesive without feeling stale.

Brad Paisley even has an entire song dedicated to Alabama.

And despite the fact that they have over 40 #1 singles, including an incredible 21 number ones in a row, it somehow still feels like they’re too often overlooked and underrated for having the deep catalog that they have.

I mean, let’s just look at some of their hits:

“Mountain Music”

If you are a fellow believer in the fact that specificity is the best thing about country music, then “Mountain Music” is just a great country song.

Alabama goes through different southern images to place the listener into the lazy mountain river experience.

It’s just one of those songs that should be played while using a rope swing at the river on a Saturday.

Memorable lyrics:

“Play somethin’ with lots of feelin’, ‘Cause that’s where music has to start”

“Love in the First Degree”

I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for a good love song, so “Love in the First Degree” is probably my favorite Alabama song.

The metaphor of love being like a crime is not unique, but it’s used perfectly in this song. To overanalyze a bit, “first degree” implies that the singer fell in love with this person intensely and with intent.

The song implies that falling in love is a choice along with wanting to fall in love being a new feeling.

Memorable lyrics:

“If lovin’ you’s a crime, I know that I’m, As guilty as a man can be”

“Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)”

I don’t know if anyone else remembers the first time they heard this song and if they waited with bated breath to see if the song had a happy ending.

This song follows a trucker who has to go on a job, leaving behind his wife and children. I won’t ruin the ending of the song if you haven’t heard it, but child me was absolutely terrified.

Honestly one of my favorite story songs, “Roll On” will keep you listening for the entirety, hoping that everything turns out okay.

Memorable lyrics:

“Ah, but he calls them every night and tells them
That he loves them”

“If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)”

This song may have one of the most memorable titles simply because it’s as long as pop punk song title and tells you exactly what you’re gonna hear.

Plus, who can argue with having more fiddle in a song?

Referencing other all-time great fiddle tunes like “Faded Love” and “Cotton-Eyed Joe,” “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas” is a great homage to one of the best instruments in country music.

Memorable lyrics:

“So we dusted off our boots and put our cowboy hats on straight, Them Texans raised the roof when Jeff opened up his case”

“Forty Hour Week (For a Livin’)”

Alabama just has a way of being able to perfectly appeal to the blue-collar worker and the heart of America.

This song, in particular, does an amazing job at recognizing workers from all walks of life, including coal miners and waitresses and mail carriers.

It really is just a great homage to the American worker and workforce.

Memorable lyrics:

“For  everyone who works behind the scenes, With a spirit you can’t replace with no machine”

“She and I”

This song is the perfect embodiment of simple, domestic life with the person you love.

“She and I” has a cozy, heartfelt quality to it that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy.

I love a big, grand gesture-esque love song as much as the next person, but I think there is something even more beautiful about a love that is simple. And this song shows that kind of love.

Memorable lyrics:

“Ain’t it wonderful to know, All we ever need is just the two of us”

“Old Flame”

Not to end on a total bummer but “Old Flame” is just a great sad song about being someone’s love for now but not forever.

You know when you watch a show and the characters who are obviously meant to be together break up and get into a new relationship. Well, this song is from the perspective of the new partner.

It’s soft and melancholic about this relationship that is bright and new and good, but an old love is still present and old feelings are still there.

Memorable lyrics:

“You say your love for me is strong, But those old memories still upset you”

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