About 38 Special
Before cofounding rock band 38 Special, Donnie Van Zant was persuaded by his older brother Ronnie, singer of Lynyrd Skynyrd, to quit his railroad job and give music one more shot.
∙ Survivor’s Jim Peterik (“Eye of the Tiger”) cowrote a string of hits for 38 Special, beginning with “Rockin’ Into the Night,” which Survivor had declined to record.
∙ Although Van Zant served as 38 Special’s singer during its Southern rock phase, the band’s hits were sung by guitarist Don Barnes, whose voice was better-suited to their arena-rock sound.
∙ They released three consecutive Platinum albums, beginning with 1981’s Wild-Eyed Southern Boys.
∙ When Jim Peterik heard guitarist Jeff Carlisi play what became the guitar hook for their hit “Hold On Loosely,” he described it as “The Cars meet Lynyrd Skynyrd!”
∙ After leaving 38 Special, Donnie and his younger brother, Johnny, formed the group Van Zant, scoring a Top 10 Country hit with the single “Help Somebody.”