Top 10 Atlanta Rhythm Section Songs

Atlanta Rhythm Section Songs

Photo: Decca Records / Public domain

Our Top 10 Atlanta Rhythm Section songs list looks back at the songs of a band that celebrated their most successful years in the 1970s. The Atlanta Rhythm Section band was one of the most fascinating bands in classic rock history as far as categorizing their style. Billed as a southern rock band, the groups biggest hits sounded nothing like southern rock. Songs like “So Into You,” “Spooky,” and “Imaginary Lover,” sounder closer to adult contemporary bands like Steely Dan than southern rock groups like The Allman Brothers Band. However, the band did have a hard rocking side to them and released many great rock tunes that could be classified as southern rock or simply rock and roll.

Our top 10 Atlanta Rhythm Section songs list presents songs from the band’s catalog that represent the different styles of music they recorded. In 2020, the band still tours but only two original members from 1971 are still with the group as so many of the bands original members have passed away. We hope you enjoy this great selection of Atlanta Rhythm Section songs. There are so many great ones.

# 10 – Doraville

We open up our top 10 Atlanta Rhythm Section songs list with the band’s first hit entitled “Doraville.” This sounds very different from the string of hits the band would celebrate a few years later that presented a more polished adult contemporary sound. The song was released on the band’s first album titled Atlanta Rhythm Section. The album was released in 1972. At the time, the group consisted of Rodney Justo on vocals, Barry Bailey on guitars, Dean Daughtry on keys, Paul Goddard on bass and Robert Nix on drums.

# 9 – Jukin

At number nine on this Atlanta Rhythm Section songs list we turn to the great rocking tune “Jukin.” The song was issued on the band’s Red Tape album. The Red Tape album was released in 1976. Four years after the group had released their debut album, the band’s lineup had changed dramatically. The Red Tape album featured Buddy Buie on vocals, Ronnie Hammond on vocals, Barry Bailey on guitar, J.R.Cobb on guitar, and founding members Paul Goddard on bass, Dean Daughtry on keys and Robert Nix on drums.

# 8 – Do It Or Die

Continuing with our Top 10 Atlanta Rhythm Section songs list we turn to the band’s sixth album of their career entitled Underdog. The song “Do It Or Die,” was released as the first single from the record. It’s a nice mid tempo tune that fit in perfectly with the adult contemporary market in which it was a top 20 hit in 1979.  Great harmonies on this one. This band sounded so different on so many songs.

# 7 – Sky High

We usually don’t put live tracks on top 10 lists but this killer live version of “Sky High,” must be heard. The song was released on the great Atlanta Rhythm Section album entitled Are You Ready? The album was released in 1979. “Sky High,” was the album’s opening track. Just take a listen to that killer guitar solo. This one rocks hard.

# 6 – I’m Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight

As we continue with this fun top 10 Atlanta Rhythm Section songs list, we turn to one of those great songs you probably forgot all about. Its always fun finding those great track that you might not remember by name, but as soon as you hear the song, you say “Oh Yeah. I love this song.”

# 5 – Alien

The single “Alien,” was released on the band’s Quinella album. For those who may not be sure of the meaning of the word Quinella, it’s a term used in horse betting that enables a gambler to pick two horses that need to finish first and second in a race in either position to win the bet. Why the band decided to name their album after a horse bet is beyond me. Nonetheless, the significance of this record is that it stands as the only album the band released on Columbia Records. The song “Alien,” was not a huge hit, but it was a really good song. This is one you need to check out because unless your a big time Atlanta Rhythm Section fan, you probably have never heard of it.

# 4 –  Champagne Jam

The title track from the great Champagne Jam album is the first of two songs in a row from this great album to make up our top 10 Atlanta Rhythm Section songs list. The song was released as the first single from the record. It did not do that well on the charts although it did reach up to the number 47 position. It was a little heavier than their previous singles that veered more towards the jazzier r&b side of the road. This one was filled with great slide guitar playing and a killer rock and roll hook. The Champagne Jam album also featured Artimus Pyle of Lynyrd Skynyrd on percussion.

# 3 –  Imaginary Lover

“Imaginary Lover,” proved to be a very successful follow up to the band’s biggest hit single “So Into You.” In fact, “Imaginary Lover,” peaked at the same position as “So Into You,” did on the Billboard Hot 100 as both songs reached number seven. The song “Imaginary Lover,” continued the band’s exploration into keyboard and guitar soul infused groves that the public loved. This is a sound that was far different from their earlier southern rock based roots. “Imaginary Lover,” was released on the band’s album entitled Champagne Jam. The album was released in 1978.

# 2 –  Spooky

As we close in on our number one spot on our top 10 Atlanta Rhythm Section songs we turn to the great song “Spooky.” The Atlanta Rhythm Section’s great remake of the Mike Shapiro and Harry Middlebrooks Jr song was released in 1979 on the band’s Underdog LP. The song has a long history of having been covered by multiple artists. Originally released as a jazz instrumental, the most famous version of the song belongs to the Classics IV who had a top 10 hit with it in 1967. Dusty Springfield also recorded a great version of the song. Nonetheless, our favorite version belongs to the Atlanta Rhythm Section whose sound was perfect for the song.

# 1 –  So In To You

We close out our Top 10 Atlanta Rhythm Section songs list with their great song “So Into You.” The song was released on the album Rock and Roll Alternative. The album was released in 1977. The song “So Into You,” was issued as the third single from the record. It would become the band’s biggest hit of their career. The song reached the Billboard Hot 100’s Top 10 peaking at number seven. However, it reached a higher position on the Cash Box charts peaking at number five solidifying it as the highest ranking song of their career.

The song’s formula strayed towards a jazz, r&b rock style sound that proved to be very popular in the mid 1970s when bands like Steely Dan and Boz Scaggs scored big hit albums defining that sound. It would be hard pressed to argue that the Atlanta Rhythm Section were a southern rock band based on the sound of “So Into You.” But does it really matter? In the end, a great song is a great song, no matter what style it defines.


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