11Multi-platinum selling country rock group Alabama is performing at Crown Coliseum Saturday, June 2, with special guest Exile.

Alabama’s roots run deep in their home state, but the band got its official start in nearby South Carolina, not in the Heart of Dixie.
Cousins Jeff Cook, Teddy Gentry and Randy Owen, spent the summer of 1973 playing covers of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Merle Haggard at the legendary Myrtle Beach bar, The Bowery. The bar considered Alabama their house band until 1980.

One of their first original songs, aptly named “My Home’s in Alabama,” got the attention of listeners and music producers. They were invited to record a single, “Tennessee River,” which shot to number one on the Billboard country charts.

Fast forward to 2022, and the former bar band has had more than 40 number one hits on the country charts. They have released 26 studio albums from 1976 to 2015.

Alabama is considered one of the most recognized names in country music and is billed as one of the biggest multi-platinum selling groups. They were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

With hits like “Song of the South” and “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas,” the band embodies the southern culture rooted in classic country music, but critics have noted they were one of the first country bands to bring a rock ‘n roll edge to the genre. They took cues from country, rock and pop, which was largely unheard of when they got their start.

They were a big influence on the bands that came after them, opening the door to mixing genres and bringing a new sound to standards of country music.

In 2002, Alabama played a farewell tour, citing exhaustion from years of being on the road. In 2011, after a series of tornados hit their home state, they played a benefit concert to raise money for the victims. The fundraiser rekindled their desire to tour again.

In 2013, they celebrated their 40th anniversary with a tour named “Back to the Bowery,” a reference to the bar in South Carolina where they first got their start.

They have continued to tour over the last few years and released their last studio album in 2015. With a 50-year career, they will have no shortage of songs to play on the year’s tour, and they will probably run out of stage time before they can get through all 40 of their number one hits.

Another popular genre-bending band, Exile, is opening for Alabama. Known for their pop hit “Kiss You All Over,” the band started focusing on country music in the early 1980s, but their music still spans all genres. They have toured with legendary rock bands like Aerosmith and Fleetwood Mac and stayed closer to their country origins on tours with George Jones and Merle Haggard.

The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale at www.crowncomplexnc.com

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