Alabama is an American country, southern rock and bluegrass band formed in Fort Payne, Alabama, in 1969. The band was founded by Randy Owen (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and his cousin Teddy Gentry (bass guitar, background vocals), soon joined by their other cousin, Jeff Cook (lead guitar, fiddle, keyboards). First operating under the name Wildcountry, the group toured the Southeast bar circuit in the early 1970s, and began writing original songs. They changed their name to Alabama in 1977 and signed a record deal with GRT, creating a minor sensation with debut single "I Wanna Be With You Tonight". GRT soon went bankrupt and due to a hidden clause in their contract, the band was prohibited from recording and releasing new music; they secured a loan to buy themselves out of the contract as the decade closed.