Southern Comfort

Yeeehaw!!!  Y’all ready to for somethin’ that’ll get yer honky tonkin’ on a Monday mornin’ better than a soggy bowl of instant grits?  Well, that’s the day The Nest does its own rebel yell by huntin’ down another 10-point song that got runned over by a pickup truck out by that plantation of cotton pickin’ lost hits we like to call the Dusty Vinyl Archive!  Make sure y’all tip yer hat to Miss DJ Scratchy and her eye catchin’ pair of Daisy Dukes, while the Sponkies try to learn how to whistle Dixie.  If y’all don’t like this song, well then bless your heart…

When you think of the 80’s band 38 Special, what image and sound comes to mind?  You probably think of a bunch of long haired, wild eyed Southern boys who put their brand of Southern rock on the map in the early 80’s with hits like “Hold On Loosely” and “Caught Up In You”…. both songs that are still generally recognizable 40 years later.

Nice to have you guys back where you belong…

38 Special certainly had the Southern rock pedigree, as one of its original members was Donnie Van Zant, younger brother of Lynyrd Skynyrd founder Ronnie.  Guitarist Don Barnes’ voice sang lead on every one of 38 Special’s hits you know, and is just as much a part of the group’s iconic sound.  And while the band did stray a bit from its hard Southern rock roots as the 80’s moved along, if you were familiar with their music, you could still pretty easily pick a 38 Special song blindly out of a lineup.

So what was the band’s biggest hit on the Billboard charts?


By 1989, Barnes had left the band and new member, keyboardist Max Carl took over the mic… and the best known song from the Max Carl era of 38 Special was the very un-38 Special sounding ballad “Second Chance.”  Though it’s pretty much forgotten today, it hit #6 on the Hot 100 in 1989, beating out the #10 placement of “Caught Up In You” from 1982.  It’s the equivalent of being a rock and roll legend, but having a late-career sophomoric novelty song become your biggest hit ever.

Your heart needs a second chance…

Alright, this song deserves a second chance… and you know what, I like it!  I don’t care that it sounds more like 98 Degrees than 38 Special…. even artists who are best known for one distinctive sound are allowed to experiment with something COMPLETELY different.  If Kiss can have a hit with “Beth,” then 38 Special can have a “Second Chance”…

Beth, I hear you calling!

While this song may not leave you rocking into the night, maybe our next one will in seven days!  Y’all come back now, ya hear!


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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17 Responses to Southern Comfort

  1. Rivergirl says:

    There was a period of time in my youth when I fully embraced southern rock and roll. Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker Band, Outlaws, Pure Prairie League etc.
    I’d moved on by the time Second Chance was released, it probably would have been too ‘pop’ for me anyway.

    • It’s pretty much the definition of what adult contemporary was in the late 80’s, with pretty much no southern rock at all. I can’t imagine any of those other bands doing a song like this…. but then again, I’m still stunned this was done by 38 Special.

  2. Yes…..I remember that one – mainly because at that particular time in my life I was hoping for a second chance which I didn’t get. Anyway, things have a way of working out the way they’re supposed to and I think Max Karl was meant to change things up for 38 Special at that moment in time. Life is like that – kinda.


  3. Willow Croft says:

    Ha, I had my grits (for real!) and I’m ready to rock!

  4. Kismet says:

    I don’t fly south for the winter. I’m already there. Arizona was a territory of the Confederacy.

  5. Juliette says:

    If you play Free Bird I’ll have to throw rocks and garbage and dead possums at you, however….

    I love 38 Special. Absolutely love them. One of my favorite bands. I love this song. Thanks so much for sharing it here.

    I might even feature this on my next Vlad’s Vampire Diary post.

  6. draliman says:

    You already know what I’m going to say, don’t you…

    After that intro I was well excited, ready for a cross between Dolly Parton and Iron Maiden, and it’s exactly the same song that every band in the 80s played. I reckon the same song got passed from band to band, each one made superficial changes and then reluctantly ground it out…

    • True story about this song… it was written by a couple of the band members back in 1983 when 38 Special still sounded like 38 Special. The lead singer, who makes 38 Special sound like 38 Special, turned it down because it “didn’t sound like them.” So as soon as he left the band, they recorded it and BAM! Biggest hit. Maybe because it sounded like everything else then…

  7. 38 Special and a pitcher of beer. Ahh those were the days! Thanks for a trip down the lost memories trail.

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