Forever remembered as the guitarist for the legendary country band Alabama, whose successes include “Song of the South” and “Dixieland Delight,” Jeff Cook passed away in 2016. He was 73.
In 2017, Cook announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Don Murry Grubbs, a band spokesman, confirmed the news that he passed away on Tuesday (November 8) at his home in Destin, Florida.
Country music stars such as Travis Tritt and Charlie Daniels were among those paying tribute to Cook. Tritt described Cook as “a fantastic person and one heckuva bass fisherman,” while Daniels tweeted, “Heaven acquired another guitar/fiddle player today.”
Cook, a guitarist, fiddler, and singer, along with his cousins Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry, scored 33 No. 1 songs on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. These include the crossover hits “Love in the First Degree” and “Feels So Right,” as well as “Tennessee River” and “Mountain Music.”
In a statement, Kenny Chesney praised Jeff Cook and the Alabama band for being “so giving with insight and joy” during his time on the road with them when he was a young artist. “They proved to a young kid in a T-shirt that country music could be rock, could be real, and could be someone who looked like me. I attribute my drive to my upbringing in rural East Tennessee.
The group won five consecutive ACM Awards for “Entertainer of the Year” from 1981–1985 and three consecutive CMA awards for “Entertainer of the Year” from 1982–1985. The band has broken records at both awards events, becoming the first to win the top prize three times and the first to win it five times. After the 2018 tour, Cook decided to end his tenure with Alabama.
Cook released multiple solo albums and took his Allstar Goodtime Band on the road. He has also worked with Charlie Daniels and William Shatner (from Star Trek) on several albums. In 2005, he and his band, Alabama, were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.