The country music world lost a great one on Monday.
Jeff Cook, co-founder of legendary country band Alabama, passed away at his home in Destin, Florida on Monday according to The Tennessean, and was later confirmed by the band:
“Jeffrey Alan Cook: 1949 – 2022. Photo credit: Kristen Van Zant.”
He had a 10-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, which he publicly revealed in 2017.
Cook was a guitarist, fiddle player and vocalist in the band, and founded it with his cousins, Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry, in Fort Payne, Alabama, in 1969.
He helped them churn out countless hits like “Dixieland Delight,” “Song of the South,” “Mountain Music,” “I’m In A Hurry,” and “My Home’s In Alabama,” just to name a few.
They actually started out as a band called Wildcountry in 1973, touring small bars in the southeast, and eventually catching the eye of major labels in Nashville for their ability to fuse country and southern rock stylings into a completely new and unique sound people couldn’t get enough of.
In 1977, they officially changed their name to Alabama, and signed a deal with RCA Records later that year.
It set them up for a massive run of consecutive #1 hits between 1980 and 1982, as they notched eight radio-topping hits, according to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
They also won CMA Entertainer of the Year three years in a row in the mid-80’s, and the ACM Entertainer of the Year award from 1981 to 1985.
In addition to his work with Alabama, Jeff released several solo projects later in his career, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005 with the rest of his Alabama band members.
He stopped playing with them in 2018, but the band always had all his equipment set up on stage when he was at a show, just in case he got the itch to get back out there.
On his disease, he told The Tennessean in 2019 that he tried to stay positive and trust in the power of prayer:
“People I don’t know come up to me and say, ‘How ya feeling?’ You just got to live it every day and take it as it comes.
Prayer does work. And I know there was a lot of praying going on.”
Jeff is survived by his wife of 27 years, Lisa Cook, his mother Betty Cook, brother David Cook, father-in-law Jerrial Williams, brother-in-law Randy Williams, many nieces and nephews, and beloved dogs Blazer and Blakely.
RIP Jeff Cook.
Make sure you this one up today in his honor: