Jeff Cook, co-founder of Alabama passed away after a decade-long battle with Parkinson’s disease on Monday. Yesterday, the band shared the tragic news with the world. The loss of a pillar of one of the most influential bands in country music sent shockwaves through the genre. Fans flocked to social media to pay tribute to Cook. Additionally, a laundry list of country stars including Blake Shelton shared their thoughts on the passing of the legendary multi-instrumentalist.
Blake Shelton didn’t hear the news until this morning. When he did, he took to social media to share his condolences. “Just heard about Jeff Cook of [Alabama] passing. Absolute legend. Rest in Peace,” Shelton wrote.
Blake Shelton Covers “Dixieland Delight”
Back in 2018, Blake Shelton played Luke Bryan’s annual Crash My Playa festival in Mexico. During his set, Bryan crashed the stage wearing throwback BS costume complete with a mullet wig and cowboy hat. After a little banter, they worked through some legendary covers. According to Country Rebel, they sang “All My Exes Live in Texas” and Alabama’s “Dixieland Delight.”
Luke Bryan took lead vocal duties while Blake Shelton came in to sing harmony. Check out he performance below.
Jeff Cook’s Long Run with Alabama
Jeff Cook and his cousins started the band Young Country in 1969. After a few years and a couple of name changes, Young Country became Alabama. In August of 1980, Alabama notched their first chart-topper with the now-iconic tune “Tennessee River.” That was just the beginning of a massive and influential career.
Alabama had a good, long run and embarked on their farewell tour in 2003, Then, in 2011, they pulled the band back together to play a benefit show after a tornado ravaged the band’s home state. The show raised more than $2 million. More importantly, it got the band back on the road, according to People.
Alabama hit the road again in 2013 and released Southern Drawl. Things were looking up. Then, in 2017, Jeff cook announced that Parkinson’s was forcing him to step away from the stage. “This disease robs you of your coordination, your balance, and causes tremors,” Cook said. “For me, this has made it extremely frustrating to try and play guitar, fiddle, or sing. I’ve tried not to burden anyone with the details of my condition because I do not want the music to stop or the party to end, and that won’t change no matter what.”
At the time, Jeff Cook said he wasn’t calling it quits he just needed to “take a break and heal.” Earlier this year, when Alabama embarked on their 50th anniversary tour, Cook was once again with the band.
He and his band created the soundtrack to countless lives and influenced generations of artists who will carry their legacy forward. Like the old Tennessee River, Alabama’s music will continue to flow.