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It was the song “My Home’s In Alabama” that announced Alabama’s arrival onto the country music scene, but it was“Tennessee River” that really started their run to the top.

May 16, 1980 is a day that the boys in Alabama will forever remember. It was the day they released what would turn out to be their very first No. 1 hit.

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It also kicked off an incredible string of 21 consecutive chart-topping songs that ranged from 1980 until “Tar Top” in 1987 broke the string by petering out at No. 7. The guys got right back on the horse again, starting a new streak of chart-toppers with their very next song, “Face To Face” (with KT Oslin), and racked up six.

Even though the band had already released two songs, “Tennessee River” is considered their first official single as it was the first one they released after signing with RCA Records in March of that year.

Fans that bought the single back then noticed they had a different version from what appeared on the album. RCA Records had demanded the band lose the original second verse in the single version.

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Not to worry, dating all the way back to its release nearly 40 years ago, the band has always played it live exactly the way they wrote it — with the original second verse and all.

Based in Chicago but often in Nashville, Ken Churilla is a contributor for Rare Country. Follow him @KenChurilla and join the conversation @RareCountry.
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