Jeff Cook, co-founder of country rock band Alabama, dead at 73

Musician Jeff Cook, who co-founded the country rock band Alabama, has died. He was 73.

A representative for the band confirmed Cook’s passing to The Tennessean on Tuesday. Cook was at his coastal property in Destin, Florida.

News of the loss comes eight years after the country rock legend was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which he revealed publicly in 2017.

Jeffrey Alan Cook was born in Fort Payne, Alabama, with a long history in radio that goes back to age 14 when he earned his broadcast engineer license, and got hired to DJ at a local station

The multi-instrumentalist and singer first fronted the band Wildcountry with his cousins, Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry, in 1972 — that later became Alabama in 1977. In the meantime, he also made a return to radio when he founded Cook Sound Studios, Inc., in his hometown, and he also established radio station WQRX-AM in Valley Head, Alabama. 

Jeff Cook of Alabama attend the 43rd Annual CMA Awards at the Sommet Center on November 11, 2009, in Nashville, Tennessee.
Jeff Cook of Alabama attend the 43rd Annual CMA Awards at the Sommet Center on November 11, 2009, in Nashville, Tennessee.
WireImage

After the group initially ceased touring in 2004, he formed Cook & Glenn and the Allstar Goodtime Band, though would perform off-and-on as Alabama until his Parkinson’s diagnosis. The last time they played altogether was in 2018.

The “Song of the South” singer was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

Cook co-wrote the band’s 2015 song “No Bad Days” in 2015, which took on a new meaning when he got his Parkinson’s diagnosis.

(L-R) Musicians Jeff Cook, Teddy Gentry, and Randy Owen of the group Alabama arrive at the 46th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards RAM Red Carpet held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 3, 2011, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(L-R) Musicians Jeff Cook, Teddy Gentry, and Randy Owen of the group Alabama arrive at the 46th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards RAM Red Carpet held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 3, 2011, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Frazer Harrison/ACMA2011

“After I got the Parkinson’s diagnosis, people would quote the song to me and say, ‘No bad days,’” he told The Tennessean in 2019. “They write me letters, notes and emails and they sign ‘No Bad Days.’ I know the support is there. They join me. 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.”

(L-R) Musicians Teddy Gentry, Randy Owen, Mark Heardon and Jeff Cook of the music group Alabama attend 13th Annual People's Choice Awards on March 15, 1987.
Musicians (from left) Teddy Gentry, Randy Owen, Mark Heardon and Jeff Cook of the music group Alabama attend 13th Annual People’s Choice Awards on March 15, 1987.
Ron Galella Collection via Getty

Members of the band Alabama celebrated their 50th anniversary this year.

Cook is survived by his wife of 27 years, Lisa.




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