Jeff Cook, founding member of band Alabama, dies at 73


Jeff Cook, a guitarist who co-founded the country group Alabama and steered them up the charts with such hits as “Song of the South” and “Dixieland Delight,” died Nov. 7 at his home in Destin, Fla. He was 73.

The cause was Parkinson’s disease, said Don Murry Grubbs, a representative for the band.

As a guitarist, fiddle player and vocalist, Mr. Cook — alongside cousins Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry — landed eight No. 1 songs on the country charts between spring 1980 and summer 1982, according to the Country Music Hall of Fame. That run included the pop crossover hits “Love In The First Degree” and “Feels So Right,” as well as “Tennessee River” and “Mountain Music.”

The band had a three-year run as CMA Entertainer of the Year from 1982-1985 and earned five ACM Award Entertainer of the Year trophies from 1981-1985. Mr. Cook stopped touring with Alabama in 2018, a year after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Mr. Cook released a handful of solo projects and toured with his Allstar Goodtime Band. He also released collaborations with Charlie Daniels and “Star Trek” star William Shatner. He entered the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005 as a member of Alabama.

A song he co-wrote in 2015, “No Bad Days,” took on new meaning after his diagnosis. “After I got the Parkinson’s diagnosis, people would quote the song to me and say, ‘No bad days,’ ” Mr. Cook told the Tennessean in 2019. “They write me letters, notes and emails and they sign ‘No Bad Days.’ I know the support is there.”

Jeffrey Alan Cook was born in Fort Payne, Ala., on Aug. 27, 1949, and graduated from Jacksonville State University.

Survivors include his wife of 27 years, the former Lisa Williams; his mother; a sister; and a brother, according to the New York Times.

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