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

NEW YORK (AP) — Guitarist Jeff Cook, who co-founded the successful country group Alabama and steered them up the charts with such hits as “Song of the South” and “Dixieland Delight,” has died. He was 73.

Cook had Parkinson’s disease and disclosed his diagnosis in 2017. He died Tuesday at his home in Destin, Florida, said Don Murry Grubbs, a representative for the band.

As a guitarist, fiddle player and vocalist, 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. He stopped touring with Alabama in 2018.

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.

Survivors include his wife, Lisa.

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