January 3

Inspired by a Murder Report, “Love In The First Degree” by Alabama

Inspired by a Murder Report, “Love In The First Degree” by Alabama 1

In an interview with Billboard Magazine, Alabama’s bass player Teddy Gentry affirmed:

“We’re country first and crossover second. If crossovers come, that’s great, but we would rather have a No. 1 country song than get lost in the middle of the country and pop charts”.

How the Song was Written

The song “Love In The First Degree” was the third single from the “Feels So Right” album. “Love In The First Degree” came to Alabama’s attention via song plugger Ben Hall. He was the one who sent it to their producer Harold Shedd on behalf of House of Gold Publishing Company and songwriters Tim Dubois and Jim Hurt. Tim Dubois recalls his inspiration for composing the song.

He was driving into work for a writing session at House of Gold while listening to WSM’s Jerry Minshall. Minshall was delivering a news story about someone being found guilty of murder in the first degree.

There was nothing uncommon about that, but on this particular morning, the phrase struck a creative nerve with Dubois. And right then he began fashioning the basis for “Love In The First Degree.”

Tim arrived at the office and Jim Hurt had this piece of music he was playing with. Dubois had the lyrical idea started. They spent the next hour and a half working on the song, coming up with the first verse and the chorus during that time frame. Tim wrote the rest of it at home that night. After “Love In The First Degree” was completed, the two writers were feeling a bit guilty because since the song had come together so fast. They reasoned that it was almost unfair for it to be that easy.

The Charts

“Love In The First Degree” reached the summit on December 26, 1981, and helped the “Feels So Right” album establish a short-lived Billboard record when it spent a total of 27 weeks at No.1 on the Billboard country album chart. Alabama broke its own mark within a year.


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