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The 25 Best Songs: The Atlanta Rhythm Section

The genesis of ARS began with The Candymen, a group that backed up Roy Orbison. Later, some of the members formed The Classics IV and charted with the classic “Spooky.”  ARS were all accomplished studio musicians, and when they all came together in their home town of Doraville, Georgia, a hit making machine was formed.

While many of my Top 25 were huge radio hits, many are simply excellent album tracks. Let us know what you think.

-Michael Buffalo Smith

1. Champagne Jam  Champagne Jam 78  The classic party song of the late seventies, this one features amazing guitar solos and a memorable bass break. The title track of the album that put ARS over the top critically and with fans as well.

2. Homesick  Quinella  82 One of my personal favorites, this rocker has an infectious guitar riff and masterful lyrics celebrating days gone by “Where were you in ‘69? Smokin’ dope and drinkin’ wine. Just an outlaw.”

3. Georgia Rhythm  A Rock and Roll Alternative 76   A simply great song about being a working musician, very reminiscent of a Jackson Browne joint.

4. So Into You   A Rock and Roll Alternative 76  A beautiful love song and a major pop hit for ARS.

5. Back Up Against The Wall  Back Up Against The Wall  73
   Just a classic rocker. about a fight. “A man fell over my razor in the middle of a barroom brawl.”

6. Doraville Third Annual Pipe Dream  74 The bands homage to their Georgia home was their first chart hit.

7. Imaginary Lover Champagne Jam 78  The group’s biggest ever hit, reaching #7 on the Billboard charts.

8. Love Me Just a Little  Atlanta Rhythm Section 72 First song of the first record. A rocking groove. Barry Bailey smokes on lead.

9. Spooky      Live at The Savoy, New York: October 27, 1981; 2000  This live version of the tune they first recorded as The Classics VI sounds especially good on this live disc.

10. Conversation  Back Up Against The Wall  73 A beautiful acoustic song. They also did a nice live version on Are You Ready in 1979.

11. Large Time   Appears on Champagne Jam 78 and Are You Ready 79 This is a rocking tribute to friends and road partners Lynyrd Skynyrd.

12. Angel (What in the World’s Come Over Us) Third Annual Pipe Dream  74  This one reached #75 on the charts, and remains a favorite of mine. A pretty beginning builds into a Southern Rocking guitar workout of greatness.

13. I’m Not Gonna Let it Bother Me Tonight   Champagne Jam 78   Another big hit for ARS, and one of their finest.

14. Silver Eagle  The Boys From Doraville 80  Life on the tour bus ain’t as easy as it sounds.

15. Do it or Die  Underdog 79  Another pretty song with that unmistakable ARS sound.

16. Dog Days  Dog Days  75  Dean Daughtry's keyboard land Ronnie Hammond's vocals shine in this song about summer life in the beautiful South. Lyrically and musically great.

17. Alien  Quinella 82  The classic ARS sound builds to an explosive end with Barry Bailey pickin’ at his best.

18. Another Man’s Woman   Are You Ready 79 A simply red hot live bass solo from Paul Goddard. Look out!

19. Neon Nights  A Rock and Roll Alternative  76  Lonley nights and broken hearst in the South.

20. Crazy  Underdog 79  The hardest rocker ARS had done up to this point, a reflection on the times, and an unapologetic statement of disdain for those who "powder your nose and paste on your glitter."

21. Jukin/San Antonio Rose  Red Tape  1976  A country flavored tribute to the music of Texas.

22. Cocaine Charlie  The Boys From Doraville 80  A rocking song with a deadly serious message about a “victim of the seventies,:

23. Redneck   Back Up Against The Wall  73  A real tribute to a particular type of Southerner.

24.  Cold Turkey, Tennessee  Back Up Against The Wall  73  Robert Nix wrote another good one, a rocker about fun times in a small Southern town.

25. Another Man's Woman (It's So Hard)  Atlanta Rhythm Section 72  This is an acoustic version of a concert staple that would really get rocked up on a later album called Red Tape. (76)

Read more Southern Rock Lists HERE


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