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The Beatles of Country? Alabama’s Randy Owen Explains Mark Herndon’s Presence on Album Covers

Kevin Winter, Getty Images

A 2008 lawsuit between Alabama and drummer Mark Herndon revealed that Herndon was just a paid employee of the band, not a fourth official member of the group. Recently, Randy Owen explained why he was still such a visible part of Alabama, which included appearances on many album covers.

Owen tells the Tennessean that his record label pressed them to include Herndon on albums like ‘Mountain Music,’ ‘The Closer You Get’ and ’40-Hour Week.’

“They wanted the four (members) so they could compare it to the Beatles,” Owen says. “I never thought anything about it, because everybody knew Mark had nothing to do with the structure with Alabama. He didn’t play on the albums. He was just on the stage with us, as were several other people.”

“Had we been smart enough, there never would have been four people in the pictures,” the singer adds. Former Sony Music executive Joe Galante said he doesn’t remember pressuring the band into including Herndon.

Jeff Cook, Owen and Teddy Gentry toured this year and recorded two new songs as part of the ‘Alabama and Friends’ album. Earlier this year, Cook said that even if the lawsuit hadn’t happened, Herndon likely wouldn’t have been asked back. Owen is more blunt.

“At the point of the tour, I know we made our minds up that we were never going to play with him again because of his attitude,” Owen reveals.

That said, the singer has no ill will toward the longtime drummer, who was a part of the band’s 2005 induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Herndon is currently managing country newcomer Leah Seawright.

Next: Which Alabama Classic Is a Top 100 Country Song?

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