.38 Special were formed in the mid seventies and featured vocalist Donnie Van Zant, brother of Johnny and Ronnie, the late Lynyrd Skynyrd vocalist (Johnny took over the reins at Skynyrd when they reformed in 1987). Joining Van Zant were guitarists Don Barnes and Jeff Carlisi, drummers Steve Brookins and Jack Grodin, and bassist Larry Junstrom. Starting out with their debut, self-titled album in 1977, their first three albums were prime examples of good Southern boogie rock, although they subsequently slipped into AOR territory. They scored a minor hit with their third album, ''Rockin' into the Night", which was promoted via their first major tour in 1979. Fame continued to elude them, however, and they dropped out of the scene in 1984 but made a comeback in 1986 and recorded the theme to the movie "Revenge of the Nerds 2". They recorded two final albums for A&M Records, '' Strength in Numbers" in 1987 and "Rock 'n Roll Strategy" in 1988 and then, having lost their A&M contract, moved to Charisma Records in 1991. Their first (and only) album for the label, "Bone against Steel", saw them return to their tried and tested Southern rock roots and they won many new supporters in addition to rekindling the interest of their old faithfulls. It would be another six years before a new .38 Special album hit the streets, however. 1997's "Resolution" album, featuring Van Zant, Barnes, Junstrom and guitarist/keyboard player/bassist Danny Chauncey, in addition to drummer Greg Morrow and pianist Bobby Capps, was a very pleasant, laid back album that evoked memories of America and the Eagles, with a number of typical .38 Special rockers thrown in, just to remind you that they could still rock like the best of them. The band saved their best for their latest: the awesome "Live at Sturgis", which was reviewed in the new releases section a while back, captured .38 Special in all their glory. A DVD of the concert has also been released and shows that this band still have a lot to offer - let's just hope that it doesn't take another six years before a new studio album is released!
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Donnie Van Zant