Atlanta Rhythm Section founding member James "J.R." Cobb died on May 4, 2019.

Atlanta Rhythm Section founding member J.R. Cobb dies

James Barney "J. R." Cobb Jr., a founding member of the Atlanta Rhythm Section, died on Saturday of a heart attack.

He was 75.

Cobb’s death was shared by his family and bandmates on the ARS Facebook page, 

Born in Birmingham, Ala., and reared in Jacksonville, Fla., Cobb was also a founding member of the Classics IV, which formed in Jacksonville in 1965. Along with Buddy Buie, the band’s manager and producer, Cobb wrote hits including “Spooky,” “Stormy” and “Traces.”

“Spooky” reached No. 3 on the Billboard charts in 1968 and was later re-recorded by ARS on their 1979 “Underdog” album.”

In the spring of 1970, Cobb, who had already moved to Atlanta, worked as a session guitarist at Doraville’s Studio One, where he played in a session band with members of Classics IV and The Candymen. 

Two years later, Cobb, along with three former members of the Candymen – Rodney Justo, Dean Daughtry and Robert Nix – birthed ARS with Justo on vocals, Daughtry on keyboards, Nix on drums, Cobb on guitar, Barry Bailey on guitar and Paul Goddard on bass. 

In February 2017, Cobb told Vintage Guitar magazine that seeing the Beatles perform on “The Ed Sullivan Show” shaped his musical future. 

“We dropped most of the instrumentals and started to discover R&B and traditional blues,” he said. “Nobody played much country music, and standards weren’t cool anymore.”

Cobb, who lived near Monticello, left ARS in 1986. In 1993, he was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. 

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About the Author

Melissa Ruggieri
Melissa Ruggieri
Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for the AJC. She remembers when MTV was awesome.  
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