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.38 Special

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Biography

Initially, .38 Special were one of many Southern rock bands in the vein of the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd; in fact, the band was led by Donnie Van Zant, the brother of Skynyrd's leader, Ronnie Van Zant. After releasing a couple of albums of straight-ahead Southern boogie, the band revamped its sound to fall halfway between country-fried blues-rock and driving, arena-ready hard rock. The result was a string of hit albums and singles in the early '80s, highlighted by "Caught Up in You," "If I'd Been the One," "Back Where You Belong," and "Like No Other Night." .38 Special's popularity dipped in the late '80s as MTV-sponsored pop and heavy metal cut into their audience. Though the band had its biggest hit in 1989 with the ballad "Second Chance," it proved to be their last gasp -- they faded away in the early '90s, retiring to the oldies circuit. Donnie Van Zant (vocals) formed the Jacksonville, FL-based .38 Special in 1975 with Jeff Carlisi (guitar), Don Barnes (guitar, vocals), Ken Lyons (bass), Jack Grondin (drums), and Steve Brookins (drums). Two years later, the band signed with A&M Records and released its eponymous debut. Neither 38 Special or its follow-up, Special Delivery, received much attention, but the group began to build up a following through its constant touring. Bassist Lyons left before the recording of 1979's Rockin' Into the Night, the album that demonstrated a more melodic, driving sound; he was replaced by Larry Junstrom. Rockin' Into the Night became a moderate hit, but 1981's Wild-Eyed Southern Boys was a genuine hit, going platinum and generating the Top 40 "Hold On Loosely." Special Forces, released in 1982, was even more popular, spawning the Top Ten single "Caught Up in You." Tour de Force (1983) and Strength in Numbers (1986) were both successes, and the band continued to be a popular touring outfit. Barnes and Brookins left in 1987; Barnes was replaced by Danny Chauncey. While Strength in Numbers had been popular, it didn't stay on the charts as long as its predecessors. Flashback, the 1987 greatest-hits album, was moderately successful, but the band took precautions to retain its audience by recording the polished Rock & Roll Strategy. Released in 1989, the album slowly became a hit on the strength of "Second Chance," an adult contemporary-oriented ballad that reached the Top Ten. Rock & Roll Strategy became the band's final big hit. Barnes returned to the band in 1991 and the group added drummer Scott Hoffman and keyboardist Bobby Capps. Even with the extensive retooling and the support of a new label, Charisma, 1991's Bone Against Steel failed to gain much attention. .38 Special didn't release another album for six years. In the summer of 1997, they released a comeback effort titled Resolution on Razor & Tie Records. Live at Sturgis followed on CMC in 1999. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   Hold on Loosely
  3.   Caught Up in You
  4.   If I'd Been the One
  5.   Second Chance
  6.   Back Where You Belong
  7.   Fantasy Girl
  8.   Rockin' into the Night
  9.   Here Comes Santa Claus
  10.   Wild-Eyed Southern Boys
  11.   God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  12.   Santa Claus Is Back in Town
  13.   Jingle Bell Rock
  14.   Like No Other Night
  15.   Chain Lightnin'
  16.   Teacher, Teacher
  17.   Comin' Down Tonight
  18.   Jam On
  19.   Rough-Housin'
  20.   What's It to Ya?
  21.   O' Holy Night
  22.   Little Drummer Boy
  23.   Rebel to Rebel
  24.   Somebody Like You
  25.   The Squeeze
  26.   See Me in Your Eyes
  27.   Robin Hood
  28.   One Time for Old Times
  29.   Ijust Wanna Rock & Roll
  30.   Bring It On
  31.   Throw Out the Line
  32.   Back Door Stranger
  33.   Love Strikes
  34.   Long Distance Affair
  35.   Medley: Stone Cold Believer
  36.   Medley: Back to Paradise
  37.   Bad Looks Good on You
  38.   Travelin' Band
  39.   Back to Paradise
  40.   Back Alley Sally
  41.   Chattahoochee
  42.   Fade to Blue
  43.   Around and Around
  44.   Four Wheels
  45.   Who's Been Messin'
  46.   Twentieth Century Fox
  47.   Medley: Somebody Like You
  48.   Medley: Like No Other Night
  49.   20th Century Fox
  50.   Sheriff's County Line
  51.   Hiding from Yourself
  52.   The Play
  53.   Quick Fix
  54.   If It Will It Will
  55.   Hallelujah! It's Christmas
  56.   That Old Rockin Chair
  57.   It's Christmas and I Miss You
  58.   Trooper With an Attitude
  59.   Can't Shake It
  60.   Bone Against Steel
  61.   Last Thing I Ever Do
  62.   Just One Girl
  63.   Honky Tonk Dancer
  64.   Hittin' and Runnin'
  65.   First Time Around
  66.   You're the Captain
  67.   Money Honey
  68.   Take 'Em Out
  69.   You Keep Runnin' Away
  70.   Back on the Track
  71.   Innocent Eyes
  72.   Never Be Lonely
  73.   Shatter the Silence
  74.   Trouble
  75.   Shelter Me
  76.   Deja Voodoo
  77.   Just Can't Leave You Alone
  78.   Fly Away
  79.   Long Time Gone
  80.   Tell Everybody
  81.   Has There Ever Been a Good Goodbye
  82.   Just a Little Love
  83.   I Been a Mover
  84.   Travelin' Man
  85.   Turnin' to You
  86.   One of the Lonely Ones
  87.   Undercover Lover
  88.   Stone Cold Believer
  89.   Hot 'Lanta
  90.   Against the Night
  91.   You Definitely Got Me
  92.   Don't Wanna Get It Dirty
  93.   Burning Bridges
  94.   I'm a Fool for You
  95.   Medley: Teacher Teacher
  96.   Medley: Rough Housin'
  97.   Help Somebody
  98.   Make Some Sense of It
  99.   Haley's Got a Harley
  100.   Hurts Like Love
  101.   Something I Need
  102.   Prisoners of Rock and Roll
  103.   Treasure
  104.   Tear It Up
  105.   Jimmy Gillum
  106.   You Be the Dam, I'll Be the Water
  107.   Signs of Love
  108.   Same Old Feeling
  109.   You Got the Deal
  110.   The Love That I've Lost
  111.   Take Me Through the Night
  112.   Midnight Magic
  113.   Little Sheba
  114.   She Loves to Talk
  115.   Homeless Guitar
  116.   Changed by Love
  117.   Find My Way Back
  118.   Gypsy Belle
  119.   Play a Simple Song
  120.   Just Hang On
  121.   Never Give an Inch
  122.   Heart's on Fire
  123.   One in a Million
  124.   Last Time
  125.   Take Me Back
  126.   Can't Keep a Good Man Down
  127.   Just Wanna Rock N' Roll
  128.   Interlude/Authorized Bootleg
  129.   What Can I Do
  130.   Gispy Belle
  131.   I Oughta Let Go
  132.   Back in the U.S.A.
  133.   The Sound of Your Voice
  134.   Turn It On
  135.   Firestarter
  136.   Breakin' Loose
  137.   Rock and Roll Strategy
  138.   Saving Grace
  139.   Once in a Lifetime
  140.   After the Fire Is Gone
  141.   Miracle Man
  142.   Fortunate Son
  143.   Medley: Second Chance
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