On This Day: Alabama Releases #1 Single ‘Mountain Music’ in 1982

by Matthew Wilson

Alabama sings of home and childhood memories in their smash hit “Mountain Music,” which released on this day back in 1982. “Mountain Music” stands up there with tunes like “Take Me Home, Country Roads” as anthems to the country, nature, and all of its splendor.

They say you can’t go home again. But you can certainly sing about it and turn that tune into an all-time hit, as Randy Owens had done. The song was the lead single on the album of the same name. Upon release, the song became the group’s sixth No. 1 hit. That same week the band won ACM’s Entertainer of the Year for the first time, proving Alabama was here to stay.

These days the tune ranks up there with some of the band’s greatest and remains one of the group’s most iconic hits.

Alabama Spent Three Years on the Song

Owen based the tune on memories he had of his youth. But the lyrics didn’t come easy. The band spent around three years working on the song off and on.

“It took me three years to write it. And I wanted to get my own experience of growing up in the mountains in the lyrics,” Owen wrote in his autobiography, “Born Country: How Faith, Family and Music Brought Me Home.” “This came together in such very specific lines. Take, for instance, the stanza that begins ‘swim across the river, just to prove that I’m a man.’ When I was a kid, if you could make it across the Little River and back in one fell swoop, well, that was a big deal. It doesn’t look that wide today, but back then it seemed like an Olympian challenge.”

But even after the song was finished, Owen had to fight the record company to get it released. The label didn’t like a drum solo during the song.

“I had written this song, and I was so excited about it,” Owens told the Boot. “I told the folks at RCA, ‘I’ve written a song, and it’s got a drum solo in it!’ They were like, ‘Radio’ll never play that.’ The reason that I wrote the drum solo part of it was so that Jeff [Cook] would have time to put the guitar down and pick up the fiddle.”

Fortunately, Alabama finally got the tune released and it became an instant success and future classic.