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Fort Payne in DeKalb County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

Alabama

“The Boys From Fort Payne”

 

—2006 Country Music Hall of Fame Inductee —

 
Alabama Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tim Carr, June 15, 2008
1. Alabama Marker
Inscription. In the late '60s, cousins Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry discovered they shared a common interest in music. Joined by Jeff Cook, they started playing on a regular basis. Working their day jobs and playing any place they could locally in the evenings, "The Boys In The Band" used what limited spare time they had to compose and practice their unique style of harmony.

In 1973, in tandem with Randy Owen's graduation from Jacksonville State University, The Band said goodbye to their daytime jobs and part-time weekend gigs. Bravely, "Wildcountry", as the band was known, left their Lookout Mountain and Fort Payne roots and began perfecting their live performance skills in the club scene around coastal South Carolina playing such popular nightspots as the Bowery in Myrtle Beach.

In 1977 The Band changed it's name to the Alabama Band, and followed that in 1979 by adding drummer Mark Herndon, setting its sights on Nashville. After an appearance on the New Faces Show at the Country Radio Seminar in 1980 RCA's Joe Galante came back to his office raving about a young band he'd seen.

On April 21, 1980, Alabama signed with industry giant RCA. The label quickly pressed Alabama's autobiographical anthem "My Home's in Alabama" as a single. That May, RCA Records issued "Tennessee River" as the first No. 1 Alabama Hit. Starting
Alabama "The Boys From Fort Payne" Monument image. Click for full size.
By Tim Carr, June 15, 2008
2. Alabama "The Boys From Fort Payne" Monument
The Band Alabama Artist: Paula Devereaux Casting by Santa Fe Bronze, Inc. Owner: Bill Tcherneshoff Family Plaques donated by The Tcherneshoff Family.
with "Tennessee River", they would rack up a string of 21 consecutive number-one hits. 21 more would follow, rewarding The Band with 42 number one singles.

Alabama became, seemingly overnight a driving force in country music, essentially changing it forever. The Group began taking the genre in new directions and reaching out to an incredibly diverse fan base, many of who had never before listened to country music. A self-contained band that played their instruments and sang, Alabama influenced an entire generation of country groups along the way.

May 7th, 2006 Alabama was officially inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame.
 
Erected 2006 by City of Fort Payne, Alabama.
 
Location. 34° 26.598′ N, 85° 43.218′ W. Marker is in Fort Payne, Alabama, in DeKalb County. Marker is at the intersection of Gault Avenue North (US Highway 11) and 4th Street, on the right when traveling north on Gault Avenue North (US Highway 11). Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Fort Payne AL 35968, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Wills Town Mission (within shouting distance of this marker); Sequoyah (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Payne’s Fort
Jeffrey Alan Cook image. Click for full size.
By Tim Carr, June 15, 2008
3. Jeffrey Alan Cook
Artist: Paula Devereaux Casting by Santa Fe Bronze, Inc. Owner: Bill Tcherneshoff Family
(within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Monument (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Boom Town Historic District (about 500 feet away); Fort Payne Opera House (about 600 feet away); Main Street Historic District (approx. 0.3 miles away); Cherokee Indian Removal (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fort Payne.
 
Also see . . .  Encyclopedia of Alabama entry on the band. (Submitted on December 19, 2012, by Laura Hill of Auburn, Alabama.)
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicEntertainmentNotable Persons
 
Jeffrey Alan Cook Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tim Carr, June 15, 2008
4. Jeffrey Alan Cook Marker
Jeffrey Alan Cook, Wife: Lisa Williams Cook Born August 27, 1949 to James and Betty Sue Cook Brother: David G. Cook Daughter: Crystal Amorde
Jeff began playing lead guitar at 13 and in many bands grew skilled on keyboards, bass guitar, fiddle, mandolin, steel guitar.
Jeff attained a commercial broadcast license at the age of 14 & graduated from Gadsden State Community College with a degree in Electronics before founding Cook Sound Studios, Inc. in 1982.
"As part of Alabama, meeting new friends was the pinnacle award."
"When I die, if I get my wish, the Lord will provide me a place to fish."
Randy Yeuell Owen image. Click for full size.
By Tim Carr, June 15, 2008
5. Randy Yeuell Owen
Artist: Paula Devereaux Casting by Santa Fe Bronze, Inc. Owner: Bill Tcherneshoff Family
Randy Yeuell Owen Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tim Carr, June 15, 2008
6. Randy Yeuell Owen Marker
Randy Yeuell Owen, Wife: Kelly Rosanne Pyle Owen Parents: Gladstone Yeuell Owen, Martha Alice Teague Owen. Sisters: Reba Dell, Rachel Alice. Daughters: Alison Sena, Randa Rosanne. Son: Heath Yeuell.
Graduate: Adamsburg Jr. Hight, Ft. Payne High, N.E.S.J.C., Jacksonville State University.
Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Farmer-Rancher, Writer, Entertainer, Humanitarian.
Inspirations: Family, God, Country, State, Little River Canyon, Music, Poetry.
Mark Joel Herndon image. Click for full size.
By Tim Carr, June 15, 2008
7. Mark Joel Herndon
Artist: Paula Devereaux Casting by Santa Fe Bronze, Inc. Owner: Bill Tcherneshoff Family
Mark Joel Herndon Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tim Carr, June 15, 2008
8. Mark Joel Herndon Marker
Mark Joel Herndon, Born on May 11th, 1955 in Springfield, MA. Mark joined Alabama on April 1st, 1979.
"It was everything, it was unbelievable. Sometimes difficult but always possible. I never doubted we would make it, just how long we would last. Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead!
Our greatest days become our finest hour, fading to just a blink as time moves on. I'm glad I played a part in something that meant so much to so many, that after all...endured."
Teddy Wayne Gentry image. Click for full size.
By Tim Carr, June 15, 2008
9. Teddy Wayne Gentry
Artist: Paula Devereaux Casting by Santa Fe Bronze, Inc. Owner: Bill Tcherneshoff Family
Teddy Wayne Gentry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tim Carr, June 15, 2008
10. Teddy Wayne Gentry Marker
Teddy Wayne Gentry, Teddy Wayne Gentry was born January 22nd, 1952 at Guest's Clinic in Fort Payne, Alabama to James Edward and Bertha Jean (Eller) Gentry. Teddy learned his first guitar chords between ages 5 and 6, and began singing at Mt. Carmel Church in Adamsburg every Sunday. Teddy credits his mother with teaching him vocal arrangements, by singing harmony parts with the radio while she was ironing clothes. Teddy wrote his first song at age 10, joined his first band at 15 where he began playing bass, and in 1969 along with cousin Randy Owen joined Jeff Cook to form the group "Young Country."
Credit Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Tim Carr, June 15, 2008
11. Credit Plaque
The Band Alabama Artist: Paula Devereaux Casting by Santa Fe Bronze, Inc. Owner: Bill Tcherneshoff Family Plaques donated by The Tcherneshoff Family. "Tennessee River" Words and Music by Randy Owen
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 8, 2009, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama. This page has been viewed 4,402 times since then and 179 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. submitted on December 8, 2009, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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