While primarily a studio musician he toured extensively with Elton John in the mid-70s, playing on the famed "Philadelphia Freedom" recording, which also featured John Lennon. His saxophone can be heard on the recordings of Joe Cocker, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Delbert McClinton and many others Later in the 70s, the Muscle Shoals Horns released three albums of their own compositions which capitalized on the disco dance craze, and toured opening for groups such as Parliament-Funkadelic
Ronnie Eades - Saxophone
Ronnie Eades joined the group in 1987 bringing a distinctive,soulful saxophone style which has been recorded and heard around the world. Co-Founder of the Muscle Shoals Horn Section in 1967-68, Ronnie had recorded and performed with over 400 artists by 1981. These included such legendary talents as Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin,Percy Sledge,Wilson Pickett , The Oak Ridge Boys, Candy Staton, The Osmonds, Bob Dillion, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Rod Steward, Barbara Mandrell, and Dolly Pardon.Ronnie recalls a time when The Muscle Shoals Horns were being heard on 5 hit records at the same time.Currently Ronnie is in full-time ministry with Christ Gospel Churches International . He is heading up the Recording and Sound Department.
Contemporary Christian Music
Where It Came From, What It Is, Where It's Going © 1985 Paul Baker
Crossway Books, Westchester, Illinois
Chapter 29: Muscle Shoals
In 1980, after a slowdown in the music business, the Muscle Shoals area once again hit the trade news when Bob Dylan went
there shortly after his widely reported conversion to record his Slow Train Coming album at Muscle Shoals Sound.
One of the musicians who played on the Dylan sessions was Ronnie Eades, a saxophonist member of the famed Muscle Shoals Horns. Eades had been in the area since 1968, and had worked his way virtually to the top, including a three and a half month tour with Elton John in 1974. But even after that, and even as he blew the sax for Dylan, his life was skidding toward the bottom. His major problem was alcohol—a case of beer a day—plus more than his share of drugs. He had the reputation in music circles as the ''town drunk.''
''I was the life of the party,'' he said, looking back in 1984 with cleared vision, ''always cuttin' up and everything. I never let anybody know whether I had problems or not. Deep down inside, when I got by myself, I knew that there was a problem. I'd try to drink those problems away, but it didn't work. I'd be miserable, then I'd go outside with some people. We'd start drinkin', cuttin' up, carryin' on. It was okay for awhile. Then after I got back to myself again, there it was. It wouldn't go away.''
For recording engineer Jerry Masters, the tremendous success the Muscle Shoals music business had with hit records and plentiful times helped to cover up a serious state of affairs in his own life. ''I was always the first one to roll a joint, always the first one to mix up the mushrooms. I did an entire Rod Stewart album one time on mushrooms. I would do anything that would desensitize me. I got so good at engineering that I'd get blasted away and still cut hit records. It didn't matter anymore.''
Meanwhile, Eades was lovingly but continually witnessed to by his daughter, a new Christian. ''She tried to get me to go to church,'' he recounted later. ''I thought it was a joke.''
Eades was playing in clubs around the Muscle Shoals area for a living. He recalls the line of reasoning he took in order to turn down his daughter's invitation. He thought, ''The way I've met most of those Christians that I know was in these clubs. I don't want to have anything to do with this. I'm just as good as they are. What do I need with this? What do I need with God?''
For nearly six years several people had been praying for Eades. Finally his wife to be and his daughter got him to the church. ''I'm gonna go once to get you off my back,'' he told them. ''Then I don't wanna hear anything else about it.''
''So I went to this full-gospel church and there was something different about it,'' Eades recalls. ''It wasn't so bad. Something snapped inside of me. I acted like I didn't want to go back, but I went for about eight Sundays following. I still stayed in the clubs. As I
went to church, conviction, truth, everything started comin' on. I knew that's what I needed! But a lot of pride and everything else was still in the way.
''After about eight weeks I couldn't stand it any longer. I still played the club that Saturday night, but I went down to the altar the next morning. I believe I got saved in that club. My eyes started to open. From drinking a case of beer a day, I had one beer that Saturday night, and I couldn't keep that down!
''I was very confused. I said, 'What is this?' Even when I was sick, I could drink beer! But I know it was the Spirit of the Lord coming inside me, and that mess just couldn't stay, couldn't live.
''That Sunday night, that was it. I said, 'Here's my life, Lord; as big a mess as it's in, you got it.''
The memorable date for Eades was in 1981. He was thirty-nine years old when he made the decision. Eades and forty-one-year-old engineer Jerry Masters didn't know each other at the time, but they were later to become best of Christian friends.