One of the most successful, but often overlooked, funk/soul bands of the 80s, the SOS Band released a handful of monster rhythmic hits that stand up well more than two decades after hitting the airwaves.
Formed in Atlanta, the "Sound of Success" Band at its peak consisted of singers Mary Davis and Jason Bryant, multi-instrumentalist Abdul Ra'oof, saxmen Willie Killebrew and Billy Ellis, drummer James Earl Jones III, bassist John Simpson and guitarist Bruno Speight.
Signed to the fast-rising Tabu label in 1980, the band debuted auspiciously, hitting the top of the charts with its self-titled album as well as the Sigidi Abdullah composition "Take Your Time (Do It Right)." But bigger success lay ahead, as the group teamed with now-legendary hitmakers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis for a series of albums that yielded hit after hit, including "Just Be Good To Me," "Just the Way You Like It," "Tell Me If You Still Care," and their biggest smash, a 1986 beat-heavy masterpiece, "Finest."
The departure of Davis from the group and the loss of Jam and Lewis as producers led to a decline in the band's fortunes, and by 1991 the SOS Band was no more. A reconstituted version of the band has joined together from time to time since the mid-90s.
By Chris Rizik