While more than three decades have passed since country supergroup Alabama served as The Bowery’s house band, it’s legacy is peppered all over the Myrtle Beach nightclub that’s within a stone’s throw of the Atlantic Ocean.
From the photo montage plastered on the club’s entryway to the wax figure of an original Alabama crew member, the history of this honky-tonk and one of country music’s most successful acts are intertwined. The country music supergroup “Alabama” was the first celebrity act to hit the Myrtle Beach music scene — as Wild Country, the house band at local hangout The Bowery. Their stay at The Bowery is immortalized in the songs “Tar Top” and “Dancin’, Shaggin’ On The Boulevard.” “The Bowery gave us a great place, a great avenue to be a band and to be able to write and be able to create,” says singer Randy Owen. “The thing with Myrtle Beach and Alabama, it’s a unique thing because this is us.”
It all Started in 1969, Cousins Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry, and Jeff Cook decided to start a band using equipment Jeff had been collecting; the three cousins started a band called Young Country. By 1972 the band had added friend Bennett Vartanian as the drummer. In 1973 the band relocated from Fort Payne, Alabama to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to become the house band for a club called The Bowery. Working for tips, they played six nights a week honing the harmonies that would later become a trademark. They stayed seven summers at The Bowery, gaining a huge regional following, changing the band name to Alabama and utilizing one drummer after another before Mark Herndon came into the picture.
On April 21, 1980, Alabama signed with industry giant RCA, the label that turned the likes of Elvis Presley into a megastar and cultural icon. The label quickly pressed Alabama’s autobiographical anthem “My Home’s in Alabama” as a single. That May, RCA Records issued “Tennessee River” as the first No. 1 Alabama hit. Starting with “Tennessee River”, they would rack up a string of 21 consecutive number-one hits. 21 more would follow, rewarding the band with 42 number one singles. Alabama became, seemingly overnight, a driving force in country music, essentially changing it forever.
November 15th, 2005 Alabama’s induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame caps one of the most astounding success stories in American entertainment. With a career that to date has resulted in 21 gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums, 42 number one singles and over 73 million records sold, Alabama has received over 150 industry awards including 8 country music “Entertainer of the Year” honors, 2 Grammys, 2 People’s Choice Awards and their very own star on the “Hollywood Walk of Fame.” They were named the “Artist of the Decade” by the Academy of Country Music in 1989 and “Country Group of the Century” by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1999
Official Website: www.thealabamaband.com
Take a look at some of our photos from Alabama when they were just getting started here at The Bowery!