Randy Owen from Fort Payne, Alabama, was the lead singer of the extremely popular group Alabama, which saw considerable mainstream success throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Although Alabama only records new albums on occasion, Owen himself has maintained a career in country music as a solo performer. He released his solo debut One on One in late 2008 and charted two singles from it.
Owen grew up on a farm near Fort Payne, Alabama. In the late 1960s, Owen and his cousin, Teddy Gentry, began playing music together. They recruited another cousin, Jeff Cook, to form a band, which they named Wildcountry. Their first public performance was at a high school talent show, which they won.
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Owen's music career was put on hiatus as he earned a degree from Jacksonville State University. Upon his graduation, however, the three cousins moved into an apartment in Anniston, Alabama and by 1973 were pursuing a full-time music career.
In 1980, the band, now called Alabama, were signed to a recording contract by RCA Records and quickly reached country super stardom. For the next twenty-two years, Alabama had a tremendous impact on country music, attracting a younger group of listeners, crossing over into pop radio, and paving the way for groups to be successful on country radio.
The band's blend of traditional country music and southern rock combined with elements of gospel music, and pop music gave it a crossover appeal that helped lead to their unprecedented success.
Alabama released 21 gold, platinum, and multi-platinum albums, had 42 No. One singles, and sold a total of over 73 million records. They have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and were named the Academy of Country Music's Artist of the Decade in 1989, and the Recording Industry Association of America's Country Group of the Century in 1999.
|From Life Magazine|
From 1982 through 1997, Alabama organized an annual Alabama June Jam in Fort Payne, Alabama. Proceeds from these events were put into an escrow account, which gives grants to charities and school organizations.