Alabama co-founder, Jeff Cook, has passed away at age 73, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2012. Along with cousins Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry, he co-founded the band Wild Country in 1972, which became Alabama in 1977. Cook contributed lead guitar, vocals, fiddle and keyboard to the group’s productions, which rose to prominence in the late 1970s and ‘80s with a string of hits. In addition to his performance work, Cook founded Cook Sound Studios, Inc. in Fort Payne and established WQRX-AM in Valley Head, AL. He was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2019, and Alabama is a 2005 inductee to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Arrangements for Cook’s celebration of life will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to the Jeff And Lisa Cook Foundation (P.O. Box 680067, Fort Payne, AL 35968) or via the foundation website HERE.
Friends and colleagues in the Nashville music community shared their thoughts on Jeff Cook’s passing:
“We’re absolutely heartbroken to hear of the death of our old friend Jeff Cook, after bravely dealing with a debilitating illness over the last few years. He was a great musician and singer, but most importantly, a wonderful, charitable person. Our thoughts go out to Lisa and to Randy, Teddy and all of his Alabama ‘family.’ Rest in peace.”–Exile
“Such sad news today with the passing of Jeff Cook. Many years ago, Jack Greene and I were asked to judge a talent contest, not something I’m comfortable with as I don’t feel qualified to ever judge another talent. However, we chose the group that became Alabama. We shared a lot of laughs about that and I joked I would never judge another contest as I was gonna quit a winner. Jeff was such an integral part of the group, both on and off stage. He was a talented musician and singer, but he also had the personality to connect with friends and fans alike. My heart is heavy tonight.”–Jeannie Seely
“Some of my best times in country music were while sharing the stage with Jeff Cook. I had a wonderful opportunity to open for Jeff and the band many years ago. Whenever I would run into him he would always mention me being on the show with them back in Atlanta in the mid-80s. He was very kind to remember what was probably a very small thing to him and the band. Alabama, but it was such a huge thing for this country boy. Godspeed, Jeff.”–John Berry
“I grew up on the music of Alabama. It was my first introduction to country music. Alabama just has IT, and it was a highlight of my career to interview Jeff. What a lasting impact he has made on music and our country. Words can’t express how influential Alabama has been to so many lives - including mine. He was always friendly and kind.”–Megan Alexander
“Alabama, a four-piece band (I love four-piece bands), turned country music around with their mix of rock and country. It was like the Beatles. It had to be those four to make that unique sound. Jeff, to me, was the George Harrison of Alabama. He always had great guitar licks that gave each song its own identity. Those four guys made music and magic. Thank you, Jeff.”–Kent Blazy
"Jeff Cook was one of the most talented, well-rounded multi-instrument musicians in country music. Alabama was the first concert I ever attended as a kid and I knew that's what I wanted to do one day. He gave Alabama such a unique sound and his contributions were unparalleled. My thoughts and prayers go out to Jeff's family as well as the entire Alabama family. It's a very sad day in country music and he will be sorely missed."–Heidi Newfield
“Jeff Cook of Alabama will truly be missed. He was a true inspiration in our musical journey. He is playing guitar and singing in Heaven’s Angel Band.”–Flat River Band
“My family and I are so sorry to hear about Jeff's passing. Alabama was a staple in our house while I was growing up. They were even my momma's first concert when she was a teenager! Jeff's talents will live on through his music, but he will be truly missed.”–Dallas Remington
"Some of my fondest memories from growing up on the ball field-and the soundtrack of my life before I moved to Nashville-was set to music that wouldn't exist if not for Jeff Cook. Every time we won a big game, we would turn the dial up to eleven and blast one of their songs through the locker room speakers. When music molds with core memory, that's when you know something really special is going on. Country music lost a great one today. It is with a heavy heart that the Nashville community will continue on with the CMAs this week, but I can think of no better send-off to honor Jeff than keeping that dial turned up to eleven all week long."–Bryan Ruby
"Jeff Cook was one of the most talented, well-rounded multi-instrument musicians in country music. Alabama was the first concert I ever attended as a kid and I knew that's what I wanted to do one day. He gave Alabama such a unique sound and his contributions were unparalleled. My thoughts and prayers go out to Jeff's family as well as the entire Alabama family. It's a very sad day in country music and he will be sorely missed."–Jason Brownie
“I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Jeff Cook. Cook’s music played a huge part in shaping the artist that I am today. The first song I ever sang in public at three years old was ‘Angels Among Us’ by Alabama and it forever changed my life by helping me to realize that being a Country Artist was what I wanted to do with my life. Thankful for his inspiration, his songs and his passion for music. He will forever live on through it all. Prayers to all of his friends and family.”–Dani-elle Kleha