Alabama’s 40 Biggest Billboard Hits, From ‘Tennessee River’ to ‘Old Alabama’

As previously reported, Jeff Cook, of cornerstone country group Alabama, died Tuesday (Nov. 8) at age 73 at his home in Destin, Fla., according to Don Murry Grubbs, a representative for the band.

The band became an unprecedented force on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart, amassing 33 No. 1s – the most among duos or groups – among 51 top 10s between 1980 and 2011.

The group – with Cook, on guitar, fiddle, keyboards and backing vocals, and his cousins Randy Owen (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and Teddy Gentry (bass, backing vocals) its longest-running members, dating to its 1969 formation in Fort Payne, Ala. – first topped Hot Country Songs with its first top 10, “Tennessee River,” in August 1980. Starting with the song, the band rattled off a record 21 No. 1s in a row (counting proper, non-seasonal singles) through 1987, highlighting its signature mix of rollicking core-country, pop-rock touches and affecting ballads.

Alabama also scored crossover success, notching five top 10s on the Adult Contemporary chart. On the all-genre Billboard Hot 100, the band tallied three top 20 hits, as well as its No. 29-peaking 1999 collaboration with *NSYNC, an update of the latter’s “God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You.”

Alabama added its 33rd Hot Country Songs leader as featured on Brad Paisley’s 2011 tribute track “Old Alabama.” Among all acts, only George Strait (44), Conway Twitty (40), Merle Haggard (38) and Ronnie Milsap (35) have more No. 1s on the ranking.

On Top Country Albums, Alabama has charted 11 No. 1s among 26 top 10s, most recently reaching the top 10 with the No. 2-peaking Southern Drawl in 2015. Two years earlier, Alabama & Friends reached No. 2, with the set sporting covers of the group’s classics by stars including Kenny Chesney, Florida Georgia Line and Trisha Yearwood.

Just last month, Alabama hit the Country Digital Song Sales chart with its 1983 Hot Country Songs No. 1 “Dixieland Delight,” sparked by the song’s prominent part in the celebration of the University of Tennessee football team’s triumph Oct. 15.

Here is a recap of Alabama’s most successful singles on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart. The group’s 1989 No. 1 “High Cotton” tops the tally. “We were walkin’ in high cotton,” Owen sings in the song, which echoes the band’s musical legacy. “Old times there are not forgotten. Those fertile fields are never far away.”

Alabama’s 40 Biggest Billboard Hits:

1, “High Cotton,” No. 1 (one week), 1989
2, “Down Home,” No. 1 (three weeks), 1991
3, “Forever’s as Far as I’ll Go,” No. 1 (one week), 1991
4, “Jukebox in My Mind,” No. 1 (four weeks), 1990
5, “Dixieland Delight,” No. 1 (one week), 1983
6, “Love in the First Degree,” No. 1 (two weeks), 1981
7, “Feels So Right,” No. 1 (two weeks), 1981
8, “Fallin’ Again,” No. 1 (one week), 1988
9, “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas,” No. 1 (one week), 1984
10, “Can’t Keep a Good Man Down,” No. 1 (one week), 1985

11, “Lady Down on Love,” No. 1 (one week), 1983
12, “There’s No Way,” No. 1 (one week), 1985
13, “Song of the South,” No. 1 (one week), 1989
14, “40 Hour Week (For a Livin’),” No. 1 (one week), 1985
15, “Old Flame,” No. 1 (one week), 1981
16, “Face to Face,” No. 1 (one week), 1988
17, “The Closer You Get,” No. 1 (one week), 1983
18, “Take Me Down,” No. 1 (one week), 1982
19, “If I Had You,” No. 1 (one week), 1989
20, “She and I,” No. 1 (one week), 1986

21, “Reckless,” No. 1 (one week), 1993
22, “Why Lady Why,” No. 1 (one week), 1980
23, “I’m in a Hurry (And Don’t Know Why),” No. 1 (two weeks), 1992
24, “Tennessee River,” No. 1 (one week), 1980
25, “‘You’ve Got’ The Touch,” No. 1 (one week), 1987
26, “Mountain Music,” No. 1 (one week), 1982
27, “Touch Me When We’re Dancing,” No. 1 (one week), 1986
28, “Close Enough to Perfect,” No. 1 (one week), 1982
29, “Southern Star,” No. 1 (one week), 1990
30, ” (There’s A) Fire in the Night,” No. 1 (one week), 1985

31, “Old Alabama” (Brad Paisley feat. Alabama), No. 1 (two weeks), 2011
32, “Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler),” No. 1 (one week), 1984
33, “Here We Are,” No. 2, 1991
34, “When We Make Love,” No. 1 (one week), 1984
35, “Hometown Honeymoon,” No. 3, 1993
36, “Pass It On Down,” No. 3, 1990
37, “Take a Little Trip,” No. 2, 1992
38, “Born Country,” No. 2, 1992
39, “Then Again,” No. 4, 1991
40, “Once Upon a Lifetime,” No. 3, 1993

Alabama’s 40 Biggest Billboard Hits recap is based on actual performance on Billboard‘s weekly Hot Country Songs chart. The ranking is based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 having the greatest value and weeks at lower ranks proportionately less. Due to various changes in chart rules and methodology through the years, songs have had reigns at No. 1 and on the chart of varying average lengths. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from all years, certain time frames were weighted to account for the differences in song turnover rates.

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