On This Day: Alabama Scores First No. 1 Hit With ‘Tennessee River’ in 1980

by Jonathan Howard

It was 41 years ago today that Alabama landed their first No. 1 hit. Tennessee River gave the band their first chart-topping hit in 1980. This would be just the beginning for the country and Southern rock band. As one of the most prolific bands of the 1980s, Alabama put out 40 number one hits.

Back in 1969, Randy Owen and his cousin Teddy Gentry got together and formed Alabama. Jeff Cook joined soon after and the rest has been history. Rocking now for over 50 years, the trio is one of the most legendary bands in country music history. Now take the next three minutes to enjoy their first chart-topper, Tennessee River.

Featured on the album My Home’s in Alabama, the song was the third single released from that album. The first single, bearing the same name as the album, peaked at 17th on the Hot Country chart. However, My Home’s in Alabama gave the band their first big mainstream success. After Tennessee River, the band released Why Lady Why and would top the charts again with that single. They finished 1980 with two number-one singles from the same album, setting them up for the success they would have over the next two decades.

With their smooth, Southern vocals and twangy guitar the band put together quite the run in 1980. Tennessee River and the entire My Home’s in Alabama album are classic country at its best. With a fiddle here and there and great, driving drums it is hard not to enjoy Alabama.

Alabama Still Rocking Over 50 Years Later.

After Alabama made it to the top of the chart with Tennessee River, the flood gates were open. The band would go on to dominate the 1980s with hits like Feels So Right, Love in the First Degree, Dixieland Delight, If You’re Gonna Play in Texas, and Song of the South. There was little that could stop Alabama from reaching the top of the charts.

Alabama went 14 straight years with at least one number-one single. The streak ended after 1993. That year, their song Reckless topped the charts. However, despite becoming inactive in 2004 for a time, the band would go on to top the charts once more.

Back in 2011, Old Alabama earned the band another number one single. That song was a duet performed with Brad Paisley. Since then, the band has been back together and touring throughout the country. There is a Labor Day Weekend event that Alabama will be playing along with Toby Keith and others. The show will air across hundreds of drive-in movie theaters across America and the world. Even after 50 years together, Alabama keeps rocking.