The S.O.S. Band (sometimes written as S.O.S. Band; abbreviation for Sounds of Success) is an American R&B and electro-funk group who gained fame in the 1980s. They are best known for the songs "Take Your Time (Do It Right)", "Just Be Good to Me", and "The Finest".[1]

The S.O.S. Band
The SOS Band, 1991. L–R: Bruno Speight, Jason Bryant, Chandra Currelley and Abdul Ra-oof.
The SOS Band, 1991. L–R: Bruno Speight, Jason Bryant, Chandra Currelley and Abdul Ra-oof.
Background information
Also known asSanta Monica
OriginAtlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Years active1977–present
MembersMary Davis
Abdul Ra'oof
Past membersJason Bryant
Billy Ellis
James Earl Jones III
Willie "Sonny" Killebrew
John Simpson
Bruno Speight
Chandra Currelley



The Atlanta, Georgia, band was started in 1977, when 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 formed a group called Sounds of Santa Monica that played at Atlanta nightclub the Regal Room.[1][2]

Their manager (Bunnie Jackson-Ransom) sent a demo to Clarence Avant, head of Tabu Records. After signing the band to Tabu, Avant suggested that the band work with songwriter/producer Sigidi Abdullah. Abdullah was curious as to why an Atlanta-based band named itself Santa Monica. Keyboardist Jason Bryant replied that the band had an enjoyable concert in Santa Monica, California. Abdullah then came up with a new band name, The S.O.S. Band, with S.O.S. standing for "Sounds of Success".[3]

Abdullah produced and co-wrote "Take Your Time (Do It Right)" – which went platinum – with Harold Clayton, the song parking at number one R&B for five weeks and peaking at number three pop on Billboard's charts in spring 1980.[1] Their eponymous debut album, S.O.S.,[1] 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. Their second album, Too, went to number 30 R&B in the summer of 1981.[3]

On the band's third album, III, they worked with producer Leon Sylvers III and writers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Their breaking single, "High Hopes", hit number 25 R&B in the fall of 1982 while the album went to number 27 R&B in late 1982.[3]

Jam and Lewis took over the production duties on their fourth album, On the Rise, scoring with the number two hit "Just Be Good to Me" (A song that would later be featured as the theme to Richard Pryor's stand-up film, "Here and Now", and again in Grand Theft Auto IV's in-game radio, The Vibe 98.8) and the number five ballad "Tell Me If You Still Care".[4] On the Rise became their second gold album, hitting number seven R&B in the summer of 1983.[3]

The formula continued to work: Just the Way You Like It (including the number six R&B single "Just the Way You Like It") went to number six R&B in the fall of 1984 and Sands of Time (including the number two R&B hit "The Finest") went gold and hit number four R&B in the spring of 1986. Many of these releases, as well as the sound of early releases, helped to popularize the now-classic sound of the TR-808 Roland drum machine.[3]

In late 1986, vocalist Mary Davis left the S.O.S. Band to pursue a solo career.[1] In 1987, the band contributed a song called "It's Time to Move" to the Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol soundtrack. The band released their seventh album in 1989. For Diamonds in the Raw the lead vocalists were Chandra Currelley and Fredi Grace, and three producers were used (Curtis Williams, Eban Kelly & Jimi Randolph, Jason Bryant, and Sigidi). Saxophonist Billy Ellis, also one of the founder members, died during the recording of Diamonds in the Raw. The album reached number 43 on the R&B chart.[3]

One of Many Nights, with lead vocalist Chandra Currelley and produced by Curtis Williams, followed in 1991.[1] It failed to chart. Davis subsequently rejoined the band, performing on tours.

In 2021 Mary Davis took a leave of absence from the group after suffering a stroke.[5] However, she has since returned to perform on select dates.[6] In October 2021, she joined original members of the group, along with more recent members, for a performance at a Birthday celebration for original drummer James Earl Jones III.[7]



All albums and singles listed below were issued on Tabu Records.

Studio albums

Year Title Label Peak chart positions Certifications

1980 S.O.S. Tabu/Epic 12 2
1981 Too Tabu/Epic 117 30
1982 III Tabu/Epic 172 27
1983 On the Rise Tabu/Epic 47 7 30 36
1984 Just the Way You Like It Tabu/Epic 60 6 44 33 29
1986 Sands of Time Tabu/Epic 44 4 20 38 36 15
1989 Diamonds in the Raw Tabu/Epic 194 43
1991 One of Many Nights Tabu/A&M
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Compilation albums

Year Title Peak chart positions

1986 The 12" Tape (Five 12" Mixes On One Cassette)
1987 1980–1987: The Hit Mixes
1989 In One Go
1990 The Very Best Of (1980–1990: A Decade of Dance Hits) 26
1995 The Best of the S.O.S. Band 185 27
2004 Greatest Hits 62
2011 Icon
2013 Very Best Of
2014 The Tabu Anthology
2015 Greatest
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications Album


1980 "Take Your Time (Do It Right)" 3 1 1 40 27 40 26 3 51 S.O.S.
"S.O.S. (Dit Dit Dit Dash Dash Dash Dit Dit Dit)" 20 54
1981 "What's Wrong with Our Love Affair?" 87
"Do It Now" 15 Too
"You" 64
1982 "High Hopes" 25 49 III
1983 "Have It Your Way" 57
"Groovin' (That's What We're Doin')" 47 72
"Just Be Good to Me" 55 2 3 17 21 22 10 13 On the Rise
"Tell Me If You Still Care" 65 5 39 81
1984 "For Your Love" 34 26
"Just the Way You Like It" 64 6 26 34 42 50 32 Just the Way You Like It
"No One's Gonna Love You" 102 15
1985 "Weekend Girl" 40 51
"Break Up"
1986 "The Finest" 44 2 8 26 28 34 13 17 Sands of Time
"Borrowed Love" 14 26 37 22 50
"Even When You Sleep" 34
"No Lies" 43 2 83 64
1988 "The Official Bootleg Mega-Mix" 33
1989 "I'm Still Missing Your Love" 7 25 Diamonds in the Raw
1990 "Secret Wish" 38
"Do You Love Me?"
1991 "Sometimes I Wonder" 12 One of Many Nights
"Broken Promises"
2017 "Just Get Ready"
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e f Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 1051. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  2. ^ C. Horn, Mark (April 9, 2015). "The Timing Has Always Been Right for Mary Davis and the S.O.S. Band". Phoenix New Times.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Hogan, Ed. "Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  4. ^ "The S.O.S. Band Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography". Music VF. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  5. ^ Rizik, Chris (January 4, 2022). "The SOS Band leader updates fans on the group and singer Mary Davis". SoulTracks.
  6. ^ The Real SOS Band - Reel (16 September 2023) Retrieved 7 October 2023.
  7. ^ The Real SOS Band - Post (20 October 2021) Retrieved 7 October 2023.
  8. ^ a b "The S.O.S. Band (Billboard 200)". Archived from the original on November 10, 2019.
  9. ^ a b "The S.O.S. Band (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Archived from the original on November 10, 2019.
  10. ^ a b "GER Charts > The S.O.S. Band". Media Control Charts. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
  11. ^ a b c "The S.O.S. Band". Dutch Charts.
  12. ^ a b "The S.O.S. Band". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand.
  13. ^ a b "The S.O.S. Band". Official Charts Company.
  14. ^ a b c d "American certifications – S.O.S. Band". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  15. ^ "The S.O.S. Band (Hot 100)". Archived from the original on November 10, 2019.
  16. ^ "The S.O.S. Band (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Archived from the original on November 10, 2019.
  17. ^ "The S.O.S. Band (Dance Club Play Songs)". Archived from the original on November 10, 2019.
  18. ^ David Kent (1993). Australian Charts Book 1970—1992. Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  19. ^ "The S.O.S. Band". RPM.
  20. ^ "IRE Charts Search > The S.O.S. Band". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved May 5, 2012.