Jeff Cook, Co-Founding Guitarist and Vocalist of Alabama, Dies at 73
Cook died at his home in Destin, Fla., with family by his side, according to a note from his publicity team. For a decade he'd battled Parkinson's disease, going public with the diagnosis in 2017. At that time, the group announced he’d pull back from touring with Alabama, but they’d keep a microphone on stage for him for whenever he was able to make a tour stop.
Like cousins Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry, Cook was from the Fort Payne, Ala., area. Music came naturally for him, and at a young age he was playing in bands and working at a radio station in the area. In 1969, Alabama formed as Young Country before changing names several times between periods of relative inactivity.
In the late 1970s, after a relocation to South Carolina, they changed their name to the Alabama Band and eventually just Alabama before signing with RCA Records, their longtime record label home. There was no bigger country band and perhaps no more popular country act throughout the 1980s.
While notching dozens of radio hits, they were perhaps best known for a rowdy, must-see live show. There, Cook was able to show off his tremendous talents and creativity.
Alabama would continue to tour after Cook stepped away from the band, noting that he’d want to the music to continue without him. Wife Lisa (1995) was among those by his side when he died this week. He also leaves behind his mother, brother and several extended family members.
In lieu flowers, the family is requesting donations to the Jeff and Lisa Cook Foundation.