The S.O.S. Band
The S.O.S. Band’s rise to stardom began in Atlanta’s nightclub scene in the late 1970s. Originally named Santa Monica, members of the R&B and funk band include keyboardist/vocalist Jason Bryant, saxophonists Billy Ellis and Willie “Sonny” Killebrew, guitarist Bruno Speight, bassist John Alexander Simpson, drummer James Earl Jones III, and lead vocalist Mary Davis.
With the help of manager Bunny Jackson-Ransom, the band signed to Tabu Records and collaborated with songwriter/producer Sigidi Abdullah who renamed them The S.O.S. Band –short for “Sounds of Success.”
Their first single “Take Your Time (Do It Right)” went platinum in 1980, spending five weeks at the top of the Billboard R&B charts and peaking at number three on the Billboard Pop charts. Their debut LP, S.O.S., went gold, selling over 800,000 copies and holding the number two R&B spot for three weeks. While the band was on its world tour, trumpeter/vocalist/percussionist Abdul Ra'oof joined them.
In the years that followed, the group worked with talented producers like Leon Sylvers III and The Time’s Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to release a string of successful hits. Songs like “Just the Way You Like It,” “Tell Me if You Still Care,” and “The Finest” dominated the R&B charts. Many of these releases helped to popularize the now-classic sound of Roland drum machine the TR-808.