They've been part of the Southern Rock scene for more than 30 years. Their biggest hits include "So Into You," "Champagne Jam," "Imaginary Lover," and "Spooky." But there's so much more...With 15 albums of outstanding songwriting and performances, The Atlanta Rhythm Section represents all the good things the phrase "classic rock" implies. Some of Southern/Country Rock's biggest names have gone on to record Atlanta Rhythm Section covers Travis Tritt, Wynonna Judd, and Charlie Daniels, among others.
Atlanta Rhythm Section IS:
Dean Daughtry (keys, vocals)
Rodney Justo (vocals)
Steve Stone (guitar)
David Anderson (guitar, vocals)
Jim Keeling (drums, percussion)
Atlanta Rhythm Section, sometimes abbreviated ARS, is an American southern rock band. In 1970 former members of the Candymen and the Classics IV joined together and became the session band for the newly opened Studio One in Doraville, Georgia.
Often described as a more radio-friendly version of Lynyrd Skynyrd or the Allman Brothers, the Atlanta Rhythm Section was one of many Southern rock bands to hit the upper reaches of the charts during the late '70s. Hailing from the small town of Doraville, Georgia, the beginning of the Atlanta Rhythm Section can be traced back to 1970. It was then that a local recording studio was opened, Studio One, and the remnants of two groups (the Candymen and the Classics Four), became the studio's house band. One of the facility's head figures, Buddy Buie, soon began assembling the session band -- singer Rodney Justo, guitarist Barry Bailey, bassist Paul Goddard, keyboardist Dean Daughtry, and drummer Robert Nix. After playing on several artists' recordings, it was decided to take the band a step further and make the group of players a real band, leading to the formation of the Atlanta Rhythm Section.
Buie soon became an invisible fifth member of the fledgling band; he served as their manager and producer, in addition to providing a major hand in the songwriting department. Finding time between sessions to record their own original material (which was initially, entirely instrumental), an early demo wound up landing the band a record deal. The group's first few albums failed to generate much chart action (1972's Atlanta Rhythm Section, 1973's Back Up Against the Wall, 1974's Third Annual Pipe Dream, 1975's Dog Days, and 1976's Red Tape), but it was during this time that Justo was replaced with newcomer Ronnie Hammond, which would eventually pay dividends for the group. Although they had gained quite a bit of radio airplay down south, their record company began to put pressure on the quintet to deliver a single that would break them nationally. The demand worked -- the Atlanta Rhythm Section scored a Top Ten single, "So Into You," on their next release, 1976's A Rock and Roll Alternative, which was the group's first album to reach gold certification.
But this wouldn't be the group's commercial peak, as they scored the highest charting album of their career in 1978, the Top Ten Champagne Jam, which spawned two hit singles -- "I'm Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight" and "Imaginary Lover." To keep up their high profile, the Atlanta Rhythm Section soon became one of the hardest touring bands of the entire Southern rock genre (including a performance at the White House for then-president Jimmy Carter). But the group's commercial success would be fleeting -- it appeared as soon as mainstream rock fans embraced the Atlanta Rhythm Section, they just as quickly forgot about them. Each subsequent album -- 1979's Underdog and live set Are You Ready, 1980s The Boys from Doraville, and 1981's Quinella -- sold less than the previous one, resulting in the band's split shortly thereafter.
In the wake of their split, the Atlanta Rhythm Section has reunited sporadically for tours (although only a few original members would be present), and issued their first all-new studio album in more than a decade in 1999, Eufaula. Additionally, some of country-rock's biggest names have gone on to record Atlanta Rhythm Section covers -- Travis Tritt, Wynonna Judd, and Charlie Daniels, among others. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
The Atlanta Rhythm Section... ARS... In the annals of rock and roll, where do they fit? They put out 15 albums of excellent original material, and consistently put on entertaining live shows-both of which helped establish a broad if not huge fan base. They had some big hits and have been a major player in the Southern Rock scene. But is that the whole story? In some circles, maybe. But for those who've really gotten to know their music over the years, there's a lot more to the story. ARS was paired with contemporaries Lynyrd Skynyrd as the successors to the Allman Brothers - carrying the mantle of "Southern Rock" in the late 70s. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, it may have made sense at the time. But performing songs that were more musically diverse and having hits that had a softer, pop sound, the "Southern Rock" label was a mixed blessing and many of their unique musical accomplishments became lost in a genre that has lived on to this day-but never really fit ARS. An Alternate View Here's some other ways to look at ARS. They weren't out to be rock and roll stars-they were accomplished studio musicians working as a group.
They were said to be more influenced by music coming out of England than other music in the South. They shared musical stylings with the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac-both in the quality of songwriting and recorded performances. They were excellent musicians who tried to stretch themselves-think Steely Dan or Little Feat. In many ways, these associations make as much or more sense than any grouping with their Southern Rock kindred. But the music of ARS only reached a mass audience on a couple of occasions. The result: an outstanding song catalog and the talented men responsible for it have been largely overlooked. When those songs are heard, and those talents recognized, the case can be made that ARS are the epitome of all the good things that the phrase "classic rock" implies