38 Special (also written .38 Special or Thirty-Eight Special) is an American rock band that was formed by neighborhood friends Don Barnes and Donnie Van Zant in 1974 in Jacksonville, Florida.
The band’s first two albums had a strong southern rock influence. By the early 1980s, .38 Special shifted to a more accessible arena rock style without abandoning its southern rock roots. This shift helped to usher in a string of successful albums and singles.
Their breakthrough hit was “Hold On Loosely” (1981). “Caught Up in You” (1982) and “If I’d Been the One” (1984) both hit No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s Album Rock Tracks chart. “Back Where You Belong” (1984) continued the annual sequence of radio favorites. In 1985 they had another hit with “Teacher Teacher”, written by Jim Vallance and Bryan Adams. The song climbed to #4 on the Billboard Top Tracks Chart, spending 10 weeks on the chart from the soundtrack of the 1984 film Teachers. “Second Chance” was a No. 1 hit on Billboard’s adult contemporary chart in 1989, followed by “The Sound of Your Voice” in 1991 (Billboard Hot 100 #33) from Bone Against Steel and “Fade to Blue” from the album Resolution made it to #33 on the Mainstream Rock chart in 1997.
In 2007, 38 Special was the opening act on Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams Jr.’s Rowdy Frynds Tour, and on September 27, 2008, they filmed a CMT Crossroads special with country singer Trace Adkins, performing both artists’ hits from over the years. In 2009, 38 Special opened for REO Speedwagon and Styx as part of the “Can’t Stop Rockin’ Tour.”