Country Music Hall Of Famer And Founding Member Of The Band Alabama Dies At 73

WHNT News 19

The country music band Alabama had 43 number one hits and sold 80 million albums. They couldn’t have done it without band member Jeff Cook.

A statement on social media and a press release both confirm that Cook has died at the age of 73 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was first diagnosed in 2012 but didn’t make the diagnosis public information until 2017.

Cook grew up in Fort Payne, Alabama. His music career started back when he was a teenager. At the age of 13, he started playing the guitar, and in 1969 he co-founded a band with his cousins which was originally called Young Country, but they later changed their name to Alabama in 1977.

Country Music Hall of Fame member and former RCA executive Joe Galante helped Cook during his career. He explained that Cook’s contributions to the band Alabama were special because “while he wasn’t front and center all the time, his contributions really made a difference when you listen for the hook.”

Country star Kenny Chesney often shared the stage with Alabama early in his career. He explained that Cook  was “generous with wisdom” which was very helpful as he was starting out in his career. He added that Alabama “showed a kid in a t-shirt that country music could be rock, could be real, could be someone who looked like me. Growing up in East Tennessee, that gave me the heart to chase this dream.”

Alabama’s farewell tour was in 2004, and the band was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2011, the band reunited for a charity concert, and in 2013, Alabama went on tour once again as a 40th anniversary celebration.

Cook officially stopped touring with Alabama in 2018 due to his battle with Parkinson’s, but he insisted that the band continue to perform without him. Just in case Cook decided to show up for a show, Cook’s band always made sure that his gear was ready to go before every performance.

In 2019, Cook spoke to The Tennesseean about a song he wrote in 2015 called “No Bad Days.” He explained that the song held special meaning due to his health battle. He explained, “After I got the Parkinson’s diagnosis, people would quote the song to me and say, ‘No bad days.'” He added, “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.”

Learn more about Cook’s life and death in the video below.