Jeff Cook, guitarist and co-founder of acclaimed country band Alabama, dies
Jeff Cook, a former record executive with the legendary labels Columbia, Asylum, and St. Martin’s, died on Nov. 22 of complications due to prostate cancer, his family said. He was 52.
Cook, a native of Mobile, Alabama, founded his eponymous label with his brother, David Cook, in 1996.
“He always had a talent with producing,” said David Cook. “The world lost a great talent today. We’re mourning with him.”
Cook released his first single in 1987 as a founding member of the band Alabama. In 1989, he formed his own label and released his first 45 and the first Alabama album in 1991. The label’s debut was the single “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” with a music video that earned nearly every major network news program in the country. The single also received critical praise, and helped Alabama get into the Top 20 on the country charts.
In 1995, Alabama became one of the most successful country acts of the era, releasing a string of hit albums, including “Songs That Made America Go Crazy,” “The Best of Alabama,” “Alabama,” and “Alabama III,” and winning a Grammy for that album.
It was a breakout year for the Cooks, who along with David formed the label’s first label, Alabama Music, through a joint venture with Warner Brothers Music. The label also included Cook’s own label, and was distributed through Uptown Recordings.
Cook produced albums for artists including Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley, Trisha Yearwood, Johnny Duncan, and more. He also oversaw a string of successful cross-over albums, including “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by the Rolling Stones for which Cook was co-producer.
Following the 1997 Grammy Award win for the “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” Cook became a brand ambassador for Coca-Cola and an advertising and