This was just the beginning . . . in the late 70's and early 80's the band recorded a string of great hits and incredible albums such as "Imaginary Lover," "Champagne Jam" and "Large Time" from from Champagne Jam (Platinum Album), "Doraville," and "Georgia Rhythm" from Are You Ready (Gold Album), "Do it Or Die" from Underdog (Gold Album), and many others.
By this time virtually every major record label had a southern rock band in their stable. Polydor had the Atlanta Rhythm Section, MCA had Lynyrd Skynyrd, Epic signed the Charlie Daniels Band, and the first company to promote southern rock, Capricorn, was still enjoying the success of the Allman Brothers Band and the Marshall Tucker Band. ARS was cast into this category, but their style was not of the same mold.
Other southern rock bands, like the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd, centered on a driving, blues-based guitar sound, but ARS smoothed the edges of southern rock to offer subtler, pop-oriented tunes. The long-haired musicians portrayed themselves as "good ole boys," and their songs were lyrically similar to those of other southern rock acts. ARS, too, sang of the travails of "living out of a suitcase" ("Georgia Rhythm") and unattainable love ("So into You"), but musically they had a sophistication that many others lacked. The band provided a different twist to the growing phenomenon of southern rock. In live shows they turned up the guitars, but in the studio they dismissed long improvisational guitar solos for cleverly crafted songs.
Though Buie was largely responsible for this sound, the other band members were seasoned session players with a feel for song craft. Daughtry, Nix, and Cobb had spent time with Buie in the Candymen and Classics IV, so their previous experience involved more than weekend jams in the garage. The band was a collaborative effort: although Buie was the lead songwriter, every member contributed several numbers.
The Atlanta Rhythm Section toured all over the country, and also toured Japan, Belgium, England, and was invited to the White House (by then President and Georgia native, Jimmy Carter).
The band's last hit on Polydor was a 1979 remake of "Spooky" (from the album Underdog), a song with which Cobb and Daughtry had been involved when they were with Classics IV. A switch to Columbia Records in 1981 gave the band one last chart album, Quinella, and a US Top 30 single, "Alien."
The band continued to perform to a loyal audience, although they have only recorded sporadically in the subsequent decades. In the mid-90's ARS got back together and re-recorded some of their best and best known songs. The live-in-studio sound of Atlanta Rhythem Section '96 presents a different, less polished take on some classic tunes and captures the sound of their live performances from that period.