Home»A FEATURED STORY»In honor of Harvest Howl, here’s our 38 favorite .38 Special tracks

In honor of Harvest Howl, here’s our 38 favorite .38 Special tracks

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This Friday night Camp Rotary in Great Falls brings in the popular classic rock act .38 Special for their annual Harvest Howl fundraiser.

It’s an evening that features, “a casual, fun-filled atmosphere that includes dinner, a silent auction, local craft beers and the big-named entertainers and dancing.”

In honor of .38 Special coming to town to play this fundraiser to help Camp Rotary raise money for the improvement, maintenance and operation of the camp, we here at Big Sky State Buzz present the 38 greatest .38 Special songs ever made, presented in a somewhat random order based solely on our enjoyment of each track. This is by no means meant to be an objective list. If you think we’ve gotten it all wrong, leave us a comment!

If you’d like to attend Harvest Howl, doors to the Pacific Steel and Recycling Four Seasons Arena open at 5:30 p.m., and dinner service starts at 6. The music kicks off at 7 with the blues, folk, country and rock tunes from The Bus Driver Tour followed by the headliner. Tickets are $50 and include dinner. Large tables are available for $500 and feature seating and dinner for eight guests served buffet style. You can order tickets online here.

Without further ado, here is Big Sky State Buzz’s ranking of the 38 greatest .38 Special songs.

No. 38 Fantasy Girl

This song’s rolling chorus matched together with the rockin’ guitar licks and signature vocals from Donnie Van Zant make this an enjoyable listen.

37. Long Distance Affair

This song just “sounds” like the 80s. It’s a strong ballad that hits all the right classic rock touchstones.

36. Prisoners of Rock n’ Roll

We love the easy-going feel to this track and it’s upbeat rhythm. It might not be the most memorable track, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless.

35. Rough Housin’

The intense guitar lick at the start, the bad-boy style vocals and the danceable chorus make this track a solid classic rock track.

34. A Wild-eyed Christmas Night

It may be easy to forget, but 38 Special released an entire album of Christmas songs in 2001. This one’s our favorite of the bunch.

33. Hot ‘Lanta

While this song will never be considered one of the band’s greatest of the greatest, it IS a pretty decent track that any fan of the group can find something to enjoy. It’s a silly, mostly forgettable track, but sometimes that’s all you need.

32. Little Sheba

From the same album as Hot ‘Lanta, it’s a guitar-driven track that starts to really speed up when the chorus comes along. Definitely worth listening to more than a few times.

31. Jimmy Gillum

From the band’s 1991 album “Jimmy Gillum” could have done well to speed up the pace a little, but for what it is, it’s a good rock band from a band that knows how to create radio-friendly hits. Things get interesting around the bridge/solo, which is a nice little sound. The spoken-word part is fun, too!

30. Heart’s On Fire

Heart’s On Fire, from the band’s “Strength in Numbers” album, it’s lyrics paint a vivid picture. After hearing it, I can picture a kid wearing a leather jacket listening to this in his room punching the air and holding a rose in his teeth, for some reason. Take that for what you will, but it’s a solid track, nonetheless.

29. Stone Cold Believer

The strength of this track is it’s intro. The chorus is a little too paint-by-numbers, however, the upside of that is that it’s memorable and you’ll likely find yourself singing along by the end of the track. The solo has a cool bluesy vibe to it, also. I love when it slows things down and hey, there’s a tiny little bass solo toward the end that’s pretty bad-ass.

28. Miracle Man

This track might be the most un-38 Special sounding track on this list. The vocals almost sound like they’re from a different singer, but it’s a wicked song regardless. As with most 38 Special songs, the guitars really drive the bus here, and the melody complements it nicely.

27. Jam On

You gotta love the visceral way this one starts. It’s an upbeat classic that reminds me of something you’d expect to hear playing if you walked into a steel factory today. It’s chant-like chorus really makes for some good listening!

26. Take Em Out

Upbeat, energetic and filled with that signature guitar sound, with this track follows the band followed the tradition in the 80s to make songs about how awesome rock and roll is. Hearing this song it’s really hard to disagree.

25. Chattahoochee

The clapping and guitars are the highlights here. I’m still not sure what Chatahoochee is after hearing this, but it’s an interesting word that makes for a silly, carefree chorus. It’s also very singable. The whooo whooos are a nice touch.

24. Robin Hood

Robin Hood is a cool instrumental track that has an intricate sound to it despite it not having any vocals. It’s strength is when it changes gears and offers little wrinkles of different riffs along the same beat. It’s nice to know that 38 Special is a band that can do interesting instrumentals even if it’s not all that often.

23. Four Wheels

This is a song that you can clearly tell comes from the band’s later years as it just sounds like a track a band that’s been rocking for years would create. It’s got an easy-going rhythm and a no-nonsense chorus. It shows how the band has evolved over the years, something not everyone can say they’ve done.

22. Last Time

This one’s a smartly-packaged track that has good balance between vocals, guitars, drums and bass. It’s a rhythmic track that has a hint of that 80’s charge but with more of a modern sensibility to it. Good song!

21. One For the Old Times

This laid-back ballad comes packed with one of the more unique melodies you’ll hear from this band. It’s, dare I say, almost folk-rock sounding in a way, but not enough to really call it a folk song. It’s a melancholy song about seeking out nostalgia.

20. Deja Voodoo

Hard, heavy and loud. This song has all the right elements to make for a rock n’ roll classic. It might not be the band’s more memorable tracks, but fans of the band will undoubtedly appreciate it for what it is.

19. See Me In Your Eyes

Love the laid-back acoustic intro that rumbles into the electric opening verse. It’s a well-done ballad that honestly probably should have been more popular than it was. It’s not the band’s greatest song, but it’s one that seems to be criminally underrated.

18. Back on the Track

Such a lush guitar riff to start and a memorable lyrical prowess makes this song a fun listen. The simple chorus and loud guitars make this a good listen if you’re looking for some solid classic rock.

17. Money Honey

You gotta love the silly little chorus to this one. It’s a rare song that includes a female vocalist, which adds a nice layer of contrast that only makes the song that much better.

16. Somebody Like You

Now you were probably expecting to see this song higher in the countdown, but to me it’s always been kind of an overrated song. Don’t get me wrong, I like it and it’s among the band’s best, but there’s just something about it that never really struck a chord with me like some of the others. It’s still a solid listen, however.

15. Honky Tonk Dancer

I hadn’t heard much of this song, but upon listening to it I couldn’t believe that I had never heard it before. It’s a complete package with lots of upbeat moments. The guitars sound superb and the chorus’ bluesy feel to it make this a forgotten classic in my mind.

14. Twentieth Century Fox

This may be the only rock song ever made that is also the name of a big-time movie studio. Like Somebody Like You, I tend to find this song a little too overrated for my liking, but it’s among the band’s best songs. It’ll never be on top of your favorite songs list, but it serves as a good middle-ground track that longtime fans of the band surely will remember and appreciate. It’s got all of the signature 38 Special sounds that shine throughout.

13. Teacher Teacher

If this song doesn’t remind you of the 1980s, you obviously aren’t old enough to know what they were like. Such a hilariously over-the-top video, and those hairdos! Listening to this song is like entering a time capsule and exploring the differences between then and now.

12. Take Me Back

One of the band’s earliest ballads, it’s also arguably one of their best. You can feel the pain and longing in every word and it’s very easy to relate to what they’re singing about. In that way it’s a timeless piece of art that you just have to hear to really understand.

11. Like No Other Night

Just missing the top 10 is this song that you’re sure to hear at any 38 Special concert. It’s a solid song that really doesn’t have one element that sticks out more than any of the others. It’s solo probably in my estimation is the best part about it.

10. Wild Eyed Southern Boys

This one’s got to be in the top 10 of any Best-of list when it comes to 38 Special. The easygoing nature of the lyrics and the memorable chorus have made this a staple for the band all these years. I’ve never actually considered it one of my favorites, but I can understand why others love it. It’s a cool song from start to end.

9. Back to Paradise

One thing with these guys is that nearly all of their early videos are very entertaining, even looking at them today. This one is no exception. The chorus covers a topic nearly everyone can relate with. It’s a nice bit of paradise in itself.

8. Back Where You Belong

I’m sure it’ll be right about here where people really start taking issue with this list. Let’s just say it’s been a real struggle ordering these from last to first, but I kept coming back to this song for the No. 8 spot, so here it’ll sit. This song’s an 80’s classic. It’s surely been played at thousands of high school proms during that decade, and probably more than a few since then. I haven’t listened to it in a really long time, but once I heard it I remembered the first time I did hear it way back when and how I instantly enjoyed it.

7. If I’d Been the One

The magical verses, the memorable chorus, the hair, oh God the hair, this song/video has it all. You really gotta love the horses and the crazy suits all the guys are wearing in the video too. Some days I really do miss the 80s.

6. Rockin’ Into the Night

If you ever hear a classic rock radio station and they DON’T play this song within at least two hours of tuning into it, you’re not listening to classic rock. This song’s pretty much set the standard for what classic rock should sound like as far as I’m concerned. It’s a fun ditty that’s got a stellar pre-chorus that rolls slickly into the memorable hook like a breeze. Such a great song, there’s no question about it.

5. Back Alley Sally

Now you’re probably thinking to yourself, “What’s this song doing so high up on this list?” And well, let’s just say I really really enjoy it and think that among all the 38 Special songs, it needs to get the appreciation it deserves. Plus, it’s not like it’s a bad track, and it’s my list so I reserve the right to put any song where I see fit! So there! haha.

4. Second Chance

This is the type of song I wish I had a sweet personal story about and how every time I hear it I remember that story. I don’t, but I can make one up. Here it goes…. Back in 1988 when I first heard this song, I was dating this girl, Lucy. Lucy and I would make out under our favorite oak tree to this song. One day I carved our names in the tree and now every time I hear it, I remember how sweet and innocent we were in those hot summer days back in 1988. There, not bad, eh?

Seriously, though, this song’s an awesomely amazing ballad. There’s no room for disagreement here.

3. Same Old Feeling

This song really pulls on the nostalgia strings. It’s one of the band’s best, even if they never, sadly, made a video for it. Really by this point if you’re still reading these descriptions, I salute you. This track is what I imagine every garage band in the 1980s or early 1990s wished they could sound like some day.

2. Caught Up In You

No surprises from here on out. This song and the No. 1 greatest 38 Special song could easily be interchanged. This one’s what everyone who knows this band remembers them for, well, one of the songs, at least. With good reason, it’s such an incredible track. If you’ve never heard it, where have you been? Seriously, though, one of the great things about this track is how I don’t think there’s a way to get tired of it, unless maybe you listen to it nonstop for days on end.

And with that, we get to our top 38 Special song…………………………………………

  1. Hold On Loosely

This song is one of those “where were you when you first heard it?” tracks. In a way I can’t believe that the band who wrote this all these years ago will be here to play it this weekend. It’s an essential classic rock song that really doesn’t have any weak parts to it. It’s quite possibly a perfect rock song. Maybe it could have used more of a solo or something, I don’t know. Either way, it’s quite awesome. But you knew that already!


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