Atlanta Rhythm Section is considered as pioneers of southern rock movement by many people. While not as popular as Lynyrd Skynyrd or Molly Hatchet, they managed to put out 15 albums, build a strong following and made it to the charts with hits like “Champagne Jam“, “So Into You” and “Imaginary Lover“.
Atlanta Rhythm Section came together in early 70’s as group of studio musicians working in Studio One, Doraville, got tired of playing on just other artists’ albums and decided to record on their own. Led by Buddy Buie, ARS recorded their self-titled first album during two year period. It came out in 1972 but despite great songs, faded without much success.
Ronnie Hammond took charge of vocals and second album “Back up Against the Wall,” was put out in 1973. After the release, the band went on tour to support the album, but lack of radio hits soon drove them back to studio to work on a follow-up “Third Annual Pipe Dream”. Finally charting at #74, and scoring their first hit “Doraville“, band was happy to return to the road. Next year ARS returned to Studio One and started working on their next album, ”Dog Days”. It turned out to be their first true work of art, an album that still stands as one of their best, but yet again lacked hit singles. Strongly blues influenced album “Red Tape” came out in April 1976. Singles “Jukin” and “Free Spirit”, were minor hits, but album sales remained low.
Feeling the pressure from their record company, Atlanta Rhythm Section returned to the studio once again and came out with the next album, A Rock and Roll Alternative. Critics and fans alike were impressed: “So Into You” rocketed into top ten and was a staple of rock radio during the summer of 1977. Album was eventually certified Gold.
Atlanta Rhythm Section finally made it: “Champagne Jam”, released in January 1978, hit the Top 10 and quickly gained gold. “Imaginary Lover” was to become band’s biggest hit, reaching #7 and helped “Champagne Jam” gain platinum status.
Released in 1979, “Underdog” still sold Gold, but at the end of 70’s, new winds were blowing in the music industry and like many other southern rock bands, Atlanta Rhythm Section started to lose popularity. ARS struggled in the 80’s going through many personnel changes and after 1981’s “Quinella”, didn’t release new music until 1989, when “Truth in a Structured form” came out. Fans, however, weren’t impressed with their new synthesizer flavoured sound, album sales lagged and Atlanta Rhythm Section slowly faded from the music scene. In the mid-90s ARS got back together, was inducted to the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and despite many personal problems, ever changing line-ups and even deaths, they have continued performing live to this day.
Atlanta Rhythm Section videos
Atlanta Rhythm Section Discography:
1972 Atlanta Rhythm Section
1973 Back Up Against the Wall
1974 Third Annual Pipe Dream
1975 Dog Days
1976 Red Tape
1976 A Rock and Roll Alternative
1978 Champagne Jam
1979 Are You Ready
1980 The Boys from Doraville
1989 Truth in a Structured Form
1996 Atlanta Rhythm Section ’96
1997 Partly Plugged
2000 Live at The Savoy, New York October 27, 1981
Official website: www.atlantarhythmsection.com