Atlanta Rhythm Section Co-Founder Dean Daughtry Passed Away At 76
via ANDY LANDER / Youtube
At the age of 76, Atlanta Rhythm Section co-founder Dean Daughtry has passed away.
On the band’s official Facebook page, a post confirming the news was made. It reads:
“We’re sad to announce the passing of our longtime and original member Dean ‘OX’ Daughtry.
“For 49 years he never missed a gig, until his health forced him to retire a couple of years ago, cutting short his goal of 50 years. He was like a bulldog, but his friends knew him as ‘OX.” Our hearts go out to his wife Donna, and his family. We’re gonna miss you, Ol’ Buddy.”
Growing up, he started taking piano lessons when he was 5 and said that his “mother liked gospel songs” so he learned things like “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” He was playing in local juke joints from that moment on. He soon got a permanent job playing keyboards with the Candymen, a pop quintet that frequently backed Roy Orbison.
After that, he worked briefly as the keyboardist for the Classics IV, whose 1965 single “Spooky” reached the Top 10. Rodney Justo, Robert Nix, James B. Cobb Jr. from the Classics IV, Barry Bailey, and Paul Goddard, who had also backed Orbison, joined the group in 1970, and the Atlanta Rhythm Section started to take shape.
The trio signed with Decca Records, and in January 1972, they released their debut, self-titled album. Their subsequent two albums also didn’t do well commercially, so the band decided to concentrate on live performances instead, opening for groups like The Who and the Rolling Stones, among others.
Then, in 1976, their biggest album debuted. Their Facebook post said:
“While ARS is known to be a guitar-centric band, just listen to the recordings and you’ll realize the contribution that Dean brought to the band.
“From the first chord of ‘So Into You’ and the introduction to ‘Imaginary Lover’ … he left his imprint on the band’s recordings.”
Even though Atlanta Rhythm Section’s lineup changed over the decades, Daughtry remained the band’s sole constant member.