Alabama is a country music and southern rock band from Fort Payne, Alabama, United States. The band was founded in 1969 by Randy Owen (lead vocals, Rhythm Guitar) and his cousin Teddy Gentry (bass guitar, background vocals), soon joined by Jeff Cook (Lead Guitar, fiddle, keyboards). In 1973, after Owen's graduation from Jacksonville State University, they gave up their day jobs and weekend gigs. The group, formerly known as "Wildcountry", left Fort Payne and Lookout Mountain to explore the possibilities of the club scene in surrounding coastal South Carolina. The band is often credited with bringing country music groups (as opposed to solo vocalists) into the mainstream, paving the way for the success of today's top country groups. Since its change in name in 1972, Alabama has included Owen, Cook and Gentry. Mark Herndon was not the original drummer but was a member of the band throughout their period of fame and chart success.