The Amazing Rhythm Aces are a veteran country rock band that became famous during the mid 1970s. With a sound that is often compared to that of The Eagles, they are distinguished by their witty, ear-catching lyrics as well as the raspy, soulful vocals of lead singer Russell Smith. Their best known songs include the wry and laid-back "Third Rate Romance" (1975).
Formed in 1974 in Memphis, Tennessee, the original lineup consisted of Barry "Byrd" Burton (guitars, dobro), Jeff "Stick" Davis (bass), Billy Earheart III (keyboards), James Hooker (keyboards), drummer David "Butch" McDade (February 24, 1946 - November 29, 1998), and lead singer/guitarist Russell Smith (June 17, 1949 - July 12, 2019), who served as the main songwriter. Burton, who produced the band's first three albums, left in 1977 and was replaced by Duncan Cameron. By 1975, The Amazing Rhythm Aces had signed with ABC Records and released their critically acclaimed debut album, "Stacked Deck."
The Amazing Rhythm Aces debuted in 1975 with the Russell-penned "Third Rate Romance," a Top 20 hit which became the group's biggest hit on the Pop/Rock charts and their signature song. They had an even bigger hit on the Country charts later that year with "Amazing Grace (Used To Be Her Favorite Song)" (1975), which made the Top 10. The band's hits, which continued on both the Pop/Rock and Country charts through 1980, also include the Grammy-winning "The End Is Not In Sight (The Cowboy Tune)" (1976) and a country remake of "Lipstick Traces (On A Cigarette)" (1979), previously a hit for Benny Spellman and The O'Jays.
After their split in 1981, The Amazing Rhythm Aces reformed in 1994 with a lineup that included most of the original members and have continued to perform and record to the present day, with many personnel changes over the years. In addition to serving as the band's frontman, Russell launched a solo career in 1978 and later scored a Top 40 hit on the Country charts with "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight" (1989). He also wrote/co-wrote hit songs for such top country artists as T. Graham Brown, Randy Travis, Ricky Van Shelton, and Don Williams.
- Rolling Stone remembers singer, songwriter, and Amazing Rhythm Aces frontman Russell Smith.
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The Amazing Rhythm Aces
- Third Rate Romance 1975
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