Stagecoach Behind the Artist – .38 Special

Stagecoach is finally here! Three days of country music fun in the desert sun complete with some Southern Rock. This year you can enjoy the sounds of .38 Special. They’ll be at The Stagecoach Country Music Festival tonight, Friday, April 28th.

.38 Special was created in 1974 in Jacksonville, Florida, by neighborhood friends Don Barnes and Donnie Van Zant. Donnie Van Zant is the middle of three talented brothers. You may recognize his older brother Ronnie as the original lead singer for Lynyrd Skynyrd. In 1977, Ronnie and five other members and associates of the band were killed when their plane crashed in Mississippi.

The band had a strong southern rock influence and that was evident by the sound of the band’s first two albums. By the time the early 1980’s rolled around, .38 Special shifted to a more mainstream sound, but still stayed true to their southern rock roots.

It’s said that the shift is what helped give the group a string of successful albums and singles. Some credit the shifting success to Jim Peterik, the co-founder of Survivor, since 1980 he frequently collaborated with the band to help write some of their songs.

In 1981, .38 Special’s breakthrough hit was “Hold On Loosely.” Followed by “Caught Up in You” in 1982 which went to No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s Album Rock Tracks chart. In 1984 the song “If I’d Been the One” also hit No. 1. By the time 1984 came around they had another huge hit with “Back Where You Belong.”

.38 Special had a few more hits in the mid 1980’s with such songs as, “Teacher Teacher,” which went to No. 4 and was written by Jim Vallance and Bryan Adams.  In 1989 they saw another No. 1 this time on the adult contemporary chart with the song “Second Chance.”

.38 Special is one of my favorite groups and I’m sure you’ll enjoy seeing them at Stagecoach Friday, April 28th. They’ll take the Palomino Stage at about 7:55 p.m.

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