Initially, .38 Special were one of many Southern rock bands in the vein of the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd; in fact, the band was led by Donnie Van Zant, the brother of Skynyrd's leader, Ronnie Van Zant. After releasing a couple of albums of straight-ahead Southern boogie, the band revamped its sound to fall halfway between country-fried blues-rock and driving, arena-ready hard rock. The result was a string of hit albums and singles in the early '80s, highlighted by "Caught Up in You," "If I'd Been the One," "Back Where You Belong," and "Like No Other Night." Neighborhood friends Don Barnes and Donnie Van Zant decided to form a band in 1974 and called it .38 Special, and were joined by Jack Grondin, Steve Brookins, Jeff Carlisi and Ken Lyons. They released their first, self-titled, album in 1977 followed a year later by “Special Delivery,” both of which had a strong southern rock influence. For their third album, they shifted to a more general arena rock sound, which helped them achieve success with the albums that followed.
Alongside a sound shift, there was also a lineup change with Ken Lyons no longer a member, and the addition of Larry Junstrom, Carol Bristow, and Dale Krantz. Their first series of successful singles came in 1981 with the release of “Hold On Loosely” followed by “Caught Up In You” in 1982 and “If I’d Been The One” in 1983; all of which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Album Rock Track Chart. Their album “Rock & Roll Strategy,” which was released in 1988 contained the successful single “Second Chance.” The single reached No. 1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts, as did the single that followed, “The Sound Of Your Voice.” Throughout the years there were many lineup changes, with Don Barnes being the most constant member, and as of 2014 the lineup consists of Don Barnes, Danny Chauncey, Bobby Capps, Gary Moffatt and Barry Dunaway.