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"Second Chance"
Single by 38 Special
from the album Rock & Roll Strategy
B-side "Comin' Down Tonight"
Released February 11, 1989 (1989-02-11)
Format 7" single, CD
Genre Southern rock, AOR, adult contemporary
Length 4:33 (single version)
5:04 (album version)
Label A&M
Writer(s) Max Carl, Jeff Carlisi, Cal Curtis
Producer Rodney Mills
38 Special singles chronology
"Rock & Roll Strategy"
"Second Chance"
"Comin' Down Tonight"

"Second Chance" is a song by American rock band 38 Special, from their eighth studio album, 1988's Rock & Roll Strategy. Written by keyboardist Max Carl, guitarist Jeff Carlisi and Cal Curtis, the song was released as the album's second single in 1989 and became the band's highest-charting song in the United States.


Background and composition

Jeff Carlisi wrote "Second Chance" five years before it was first recorded.[1] The song, about love labor's lost,[2] remained on the shelf until Max Carl joined the band following the departure of Don Barnes.[1] Carl loved the song and rewrote the chorus.[3] Carlisi recalled, "[Carl] really brought it home and had such a marvelous voice. I mean, the guy could sing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' and you'd go buy it, he was so good. He really sold that song."[1]

Release and reception

"Second Chance" entered the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at number 78 in February 1989.[4] The song was the highest-charting Hot 100 single of the band's career,[5] as it peaked at number six in May and spent 21 weeks on the chart.[4] The song reached number five on the Singles Sales chart and number nine on the Hot 100 Airplay chart.[6] It also peaked at number two on the Mainstream Rock chart, and became the band's first number one single on the Adult Contemporary chart.[5] It was Billboard magazine's "Adult Contemporary Song of the Year" for 1989.[1] The single peaked at number two in Canada[7] and number 14 in Australia, where it spent 12 weeks on the chart.[8]

Although "Second Chance" became 38 Special's biggest commercial hit, their label, A&M Records, did not renew the band's contract.[1] The group's next album, Bone Against Steel, was released on Charisma Records in 1991.[1]

Other versions

Heavy metal band Intruder recorded a cover version of "Second Chance" on their 1989 album Higher Form of Killing.[9] Jamaican reggae singer Dennis Brown's version of the song appears on various 1990s dancehall compilation albums.[10] Tongan-American Jawaiian trio Kontiki covered the song on their 2008 album Free Again.[11]

Track listing

7" vinyl, CD single
  1. "Second Chance" (Carl, Carlisi, Curtis) - 4:33
  2. "Comin' Down Tonight" (Carl, Carlisi, Johnson, Van Zant) - 4:25

Chart performance

Chart (1989) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[4] 6
U.S. Adult Contemporary[4] 1
U.S. Mainstream Rock[5] 2
Australian ARIA Singles Chart[8] 14
Canadian Singles Chart[7] 2


  1. ^ a b c d e f Brant, Marley (1999). Southern Rockers: The Roots and Legacy of Southern Rock. New York: Billboard Books. pp. 238-9. ISBN 978-0823084203. 
  2. ^ Watrous, Peter (1989-04-30). "Everlasting Love: In Pop, Is That All There Is?". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  3. ^ "Talk Today - The Van Zants". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  4. ^ a b c d "'Second Chance' - Chart history". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.). Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  5. ^ a b c "38 Special - Charts & Awards - Billboard Singles". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (8th ed.). New York: Billboard Books. p. 629. ISBN 978-0823074990. 
  7. ^ a b "RPM 100 Singles". RPM (RPM Music Publications Ltd.) 50 (3). 1989-05-15. Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  8. ^ a b "38 Special - 'Second Chance'". Ultratop. Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  9. ^ "Higher Form of Killing - Overview". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  10. ^ "'Second Chance' - Dennis Brown". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  11. ^ "Free Again - Overview". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2009-12-13. 

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