Tuesday, October 01, 2013
AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Alabama
Song:The Closer You Get
Album:The Essential Alabama
Alabama was the most popular country band of the 80s. They have had a total of 34 number one country music hits including The Closer You Get in 1983. A lot of Alabama's longevity is they are family. Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry are cousins and grew up together in Fort Payne, AL. They both sang in church. In 1969, Owen and Gentry formed a band with a third cousin Jeff Cook and the three have been together ever since. Owen and Cook attended college while performing on the side as Young Country and then Wildcountry. They moved to Myrtle Beach, SC and were the house band at The Bowery. They went through several drummers but hired Mark Herndon in 1978 and he was the drummer through the 80s. In 1977, they signed with GRT Records and the name was changed to The Alabama Band. They released a single but then GRT went bankrupt. Then manager Larry McBride signed them to his own label MDJ. That did not end well. Owen says they paid $2M to get out of the contract. RCA Records bought the MDJ contract in 1980. Producer Harold Shedd took their MDJ album and reworked it. Tennessee River was Alabama's first number one country hit in 1980 and they just took off from there. Feels So Right was their first gold record in 1981. The Closer You Get is from the 1983 album the Closer You Get. The song was written by Mark Gray and JP Pennington of the group Exile. They recorded it in 1980. Don King had a top 30 country hit with his version in 1981. Rita Coolidge also recorded it. Alabama's version was more country rock with distorted guitars. King's recording was acoustic. Alabama's success continued through the 80s and didn't slow down in the mid-90s. They are certainly one of the most durable bands ever. All their hits are on this 2CD comp. Herndon left in 1997 and Alabama did a farewell tour in 2003. They reunite occasionally and even made a guest appearance on Brad Paisley's 2011 number one hit Old Alabama. They released an Alabama & Friends tribute CD this year and have toured to support it. Here's the video for The Closer You Get by Alabama.