July 10

“Mountain Music”: The Hit That Earned Alabama an ACM Award

Formed in Fort Payne, the state of Alabama in the late 1960s, Alabama band is one of the most notable and popular bands that introduced country and southern rock sound. Throughout time, they have ventured on singing other genres but still kept their roots in country music. Their stardom grew even more when they started doing gospel songs and covers. In this article, we feature one of their number one hits. This hit gave them various awards, an ACM award to be specific.

About the Song

A hit in 1982, “Mountain Music” was first recorded by American country music band Alabama in 1981, and officially released it on January 22, 1982. Band lead vocalist Randy Owen crafted this song. Furthermore, Alabama co-produced it with American music industry executive and producer Harold Shedd for RCA Records. It is the title track at the same time the lead-off single to Alabama’s sixth studio album, Mountain Music. Originally a four-minute song in its album version, it was cut short to three minutes and thirty seconds in its single edit version.

"Mountain Music": The Hit That Earned Alabama an ACM Award 1
Alabama |Photo Credits: northwestgeorgianews.com

Song Background and Story

Mountain Music” is a blend of two genres very much linked to the country music sound — southern rock and bluegrass. Hence, the song is widely described as “a modern country classic” by many country music songwriters. In addition, it is also referred to as something that “practically defined what country groups have striven to accomplish“.

Interestingly, Randy Owen’s book, Born Country, mentioned that it took him almost three years to finish writing the song. He was so detailed that he wanted to portray his childhood experiences into “Mountain Music”. In addition, the song cites chert rocks, a fine-grained sedimentary rock that may contain micro-fossil, macro-fossil, or both. According to the band, this is a part of the lyrics that is commonly misheard.

Song Chart Performance and ACM Awards

The song was a big hit in the 1980s. It penetrated several music charts and amassed awards for the band. After its release in January 1982, “Mountain Music” immediately entered the country music charts. Just after a couple of weeks, it became Alabama’s sixth no. 1 song and was voted the best country song on the Billboard Hot Country Singles. Furthermore, it also placed no. 1 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles. Meanwhile, the song reached the neighboring country of Canada where it also dominated the charts there. It was named the best song on both Canadian RPM Country Tracks and Adult Contemporary Tracks in 1982.

"Mountain Music": The Hit That Earned Alabama an ACM Award 2
Alabama poses with their awards at the ACM. |Photo Credits: rollingstone.com

On the other hand, “Mountain Music” coveted some awards for Alabama. Most noteworthy, the band won the Entertainer of the Year and Top Vocal Group awards at the Academy of Country Music (ACM) in 1982. Eventually, this gave them not only a boost in their career but also an inspiration in creating more meaningful music.

Moreover, in 2014, the Rolling Stone Magazine included the song and ranked it 71st in their 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time citing that “Mountain Music” was the work of a true band, and was proof that no one has to rely on the Nashville hit machine.

Here’s the first three stanzas of the song and try to sing along:

Oh play me some mountain music.
Like Grandma and Grandpa used to play.
Then I’ll float on down the river to the Cajun hideaway.

Drift away like Tom Sawyer.
Ride a raft with old Huck Finn.
Take a nap like Rip Van Winkle.
Lay streaming again.

Oh play me some mountain music.
Like Grandma and Grandpa used to play.
Then I’ll float on down the river to the Cajun hideaway.

WATCH: Alabama performs 1982 hit “Mountain Music” live.

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ACM, Alabama, mountain muisc

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