Formed from the cream of Atlanta's studio musicians, the Atlanta Rhythm Section (actually hailing from nearby Doraville, Georgia) came together in 1970 after working on a Roy Orbison recording session.
Keyboardist Dean Daughtry and drummer Robert Nix had been members of Orbison's backing group, the Candymen, and Daughtry and guitarist J.R. Cobb had been members of the Top 40 hitmakers Classics IV ("Spooky," "Stormy," "Traces"). Rounding out the original ARS lineup were vocalist Rodney Justo (replaced after the first album by Ronnie Hammond), guitarist Barry Bailey, and bassist Paul Goddard.
In 1977, "So Into You" became the band's breakthrough single, reaching the U.S. Top 10, and the album from which it came, "A Rock And Roll Alternative," went gold. Their platinum follow up album, "Champagne Jam", broke into the Top 10 in 1978, together with the blockbuster single "Imaginary Lover" ("I'm Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight" was another major hit from the same album). Nix left after that, replaced on drums by Roy Yeager.
After an extended break, the band got back together in the mid-'90s and re-recorded some of their best and best-known songs. The live-in-the-studio sound of Atlanta Rhythm Section '96 presents a different, less polished take on some classic tunes and captures the sound of their live performances from that period. Three original band members returned: singer Ronnie Hammond, guitarist Barry Bailey, and keyboardist Dean Daughtry. They were joined by Steve Stone on guitar, Justin Senker on bass and Sean Burke on drums. Original singer Rodney Justo and original bassist Paul Goddard returned to ARS in 2011 after lengthy absences from the group. Sadly, Goddard passed away on April 29, 2014, of cancer in Atlanta. Nonetheless, Atlanta Rhythm Section will carry on, continuing to make concert appearances showcasing their many classic hits and outstanding musical abilities.