S.O.S. Band Biography

Formed in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, in 1977, the S.O.S. Band enjoyed a long run of hits on the US R&B charts during the 80s. The group originally consisted of Mary Davis (vocals, keyboards), Jason ‘T.C.’ Bryant (keyboards), Billy R. Ellis (saxophone) and James Earl Jones III (drums). They performed regularly, as Sounds Of Santa Monica, at Lamar’s Regal Room in Atlanta where they were discovered by Milton Lamar, the club’s owner, who later became their manager. The group signed to the independent Tabu Records and soon added new members Willie ‘Sonny’ Killebrew (saxophone, flute), John Simpson III (bass, keyboards) and Bruno Speight (guitar). The group then changed its name to the S.O.S. Band and teamed up with songwriter/producer Sigidi Adullah. Performing in the then popular funk style, the band began to amass a catalogue of US hits in 1980, with ‘Take Your Time (Do It Right) Part 1’ rising to number 1 on the R&B chart and number 3 on the national pop chart. Abdul Ra’oof (trumpet, percussion, vocals) was added to the line-up following the release of the band’s self-titled debut. They returned to the pop singles chart four more times throughout their career, but never again came close to that initial position despite teaming up with producers Jimmy Jam And Terry Lewis in the mid-80s. On the R&B chart, however, they were mainstays through 1987, returning to the Top 10 four more times - in 1983 with ‘Just Be Good To Me’ (number 2) and ‘Tell Me If You Still Care’ (number 5), in 1984 with ‘Just The Way You Like It’ (number 6), and in 1986 with ‘The Finest’ (number 2). Five S.O.S. Band albums also charted in the USA, the debut, S.O.S. , faring the best at number 12. There were a number of personnel changes throughout the decade, with vocalist Davis leaving for a solo career in 1987. She reunited with Ra’oof and Bryant in the mid-90s for a reunion tour.

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

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