Atlanta Rhythm Section Biography

The cream of the studio musicians from Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the Atlanta Rhythm Section (actually from nearby Doraville, Georgia) came together in 1970 after working at a Roy Orbison recording session. Dean Daughtry (8 September 1946, Kinston, Alabama, USA; keyboards) and drummer Robert Nix had been members of Orbison’s backing group, the Candymen, and both Daughtry and J.R. Cobb (b. 5 February 1944, Birmingham, Alabama, USA; guitar) had been members of the Top 40 hitmakers Classics IV. Rounding out the line-up were vocalist Rodney Justo (replaced after the first album by Ronnie Hammond), Barry Bailey (b. 12 June 1948, Decatur, Georgia, USA; guitar), and Paul Goddard (b. 23 June 1945, Rome, Georgia, USA; bass). The band, guided by manager/producer Buddy Buie, recorded two albums for Decca Records in 1972, neither of which made an impact, before signing to Polydor Records in 1974. Their first album for that company, Third Annual Pipe Dream, reached only number 74 in the USA and the next two albums fared worse. Finally, in 1977, the single ‘So Into You’ became the band’s breakthrough, reaching the US Top 10, as did the album from which it came, A Rock And Roll Alternative. Their follow-up album, Champagne Jam, went into the Top 10 in 1978, together with the single ‘Imaginary Lover’, after which Nix left, to be replaced by Roy Yeager (b. 4 February 1946, Greenwood, Mississippi, USA). The band’s last hit on Polydor was a 1979 remake of ‘Spooky’, a song with which Cobb and Daughtry had been involved when they were with Classics IV. A switch to Columbia Records in 1981 gave the band one last chart album, Quinella, and a US Top 30 single, ‘Alien’, after which they faded from the national scene. The band continued to perform to a loyal audience, although they have only recorded sporadically in the subsequent decades. The line-up for 1999’s Eufaula comprised Hammond, Bailey, Daughtry, R.J. Vealey (drums), Justin Senker (bass) and Steve Stone (guitar).

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.