Jeff Cook, a co-founding member and lead guitarist of the country band Alabama, has died at the age of 73. According to a statement posted on the band’s official social media accounts on Tuesday, Cook “passed away peacefully yesterday, November 7, with his family and close friends by his side at his beach home in Destin, Florida.” In 2012, Cook was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and publicly revealed his diagnosis in 2017.
Born in 1949 in Fort Payne, Alabama, Cook earned his broadcaster’s license at 14 and worked at a local radio station as a DJ while still in high school. In 1972, he co-founded the band Young Country with his cousins Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry. The group eventually changed its name to Wild Country before going by Alabama, releasing their debut album, Wild Country, in 1976. They put out 22 more albums, eight of which reached No. 1 on the US country charts. They had more than 30 No. 1 country hits and several crossover hits, with songs like ‘Song of the South’, ‘Mountain Music’, ‘I’m In A Hurry’, ‘Cheap Seats’, and ‘Dixieland Delight’ remaining staples to this day.
After the band stopped actively performing in 2004, Cook formed the groups Cook & Glenn and the Allstar Goodtime Band. In 2005, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame as a member of Alabama. He continued touring with Alabama through 2018, at which point permanently retired from the road.
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