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America

A light folk-rock act of the early '70s, America had several Top Ten hits, including the number ones "A Horse with No Name" and "Sister Golden Hair." Vocalists/guitarists Dewey Bunnell, Dan Peek, and Gerry Beckley met while they were still in high school in the late '60s; all three were sons of U.S. Air Force officers who were stationed in the U.K. After they completed school in 1970, they formed an acoustic folk-rock quartet called Daze in London, which was soon pared down to the trio of Bunnell, Peek, and Beckley. Adopting the name America, the group landed a contract with Jeff Dexter, a promoter for the Roundhouse concert venue. Dexter had America open for several major artists and the group soon signed with Warner Bros. Records. By the fall of 1970, the group was recording its debut album in London, with producers Ian Samwell and Jeff Dexter.

"A Horse with No Name," America's debut single, was released at the end of 1971. In January 1972, the song -- which strongly recalled the acoustic numbers of Neil Young -- became a number three hit in the U.K. The group's self-titled debut album followed the same stylistic pattern and became a hit as well, peaking at number 14. Following their British success, America returned to North America, beginning a supporting tour for the Everly Brothers. "A Horse with No Name" was released in the U.S. that spring, where it soon became a number one single, pushing Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" off the top of the charts; America followed the single to the top of the charts. "I Need You" became another Top Ten hit that summer, and the group began work on their second album. "Ventura Highway," the first single released from this collaboration, became their third straight Top Ten hit in December of 1972. In the beginning of 1973, America won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist of 1972.

Homecoming was released in January of 1973, becoming a Top Ten hit in the U.S. and peaking at number 21 in the U.K. America's essential sound didn't change with this record; it just became more polished. However, the hits stopped coming fairly soon -- they had only one minor Top 40 hit in 1973. Hat Trick, the group's third album, was released toward the end of 1973; it failed to make it past number 28 on the American charts. Released in the late fall of 1974, Holiday was the first record the group made with producer George Martin. Holiday returned America to the top of the charts, peaking at number three and launching the hit singles "Tin Man" and "Lonely People." "Sister Golden Hair," pulled from 1975's Hearts, became their second number one single. That same year, the group released History: America's Greatest Hits, which would eventually sell over four million copies.

Although America's 1976 effort Hideaway went gold and peaked at number 11, the group's audience was beginning to decline. After releasing Harbor to a lukewarm reception, Dan Peek left the group, deciding to become a contemporary Christian recording artist. The group continued as a duo; their last Martin-produced record, Silent Letter, was released in 1979 to little attention. America returned to the Top Ten in 1982 with "You Can Do Magic," an adult contemporary pop number that featured synthesizers along with their trademark harmonies. "The Border" became their last Top 40 hit in 1983, peaking at number 33. After releasing America in Concert in the summer of 1985, the group continued to tour successfully into the '90s, resurfacing in 1998 with Human Nature.

The early part of the new millennium saw America release not only a handful of live albums as well as a holiday-themed studio recording, but also the exhaustive, career-spanning box set Highway, released in 2000. On the heels of this renewed interest, America were tempted back into the studio in 2006 by longtime fans and musicians Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and James Iha of the Smashing Pumpkins. Although encouraging Bunnell and Beckley to stick to America's core sound, producers Schlesinger and Iha brought in younger musicians influenced by America to guest on the album, including Ryan Adams, Nada Surf, and others. Released in early 2007, Here & Now featured new material by America as well as covers written by bands heavily influenced by the soft rock pioneers. The duo of Bunnell and Beckley returned with the independently released covers album Back Pages in July 2011. That very same month, the duo's former bandmate Dan Peek died at his home in Missouri at the age of 60. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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I love the song Sister Golden Hair!
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kings_kid
America
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Ok all you old f*rts here you go
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bdouglas71
My all-time favorite Neil Young performance!
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pat73865
My wife & I enjoyed them in Germany in early 70's I can't remember what town the concert was in?
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a long time passed since Ferris in 68!!
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They're giving a free concert in L.A.at Pershing Square this summer down town.I'm gonna go to see if they still have it,the price is sure right.Very good sound system there too.
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jacesgrammy
I love this song, never heard it
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desiree.whee l e r
Love Ventura Highway
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I always liked Ventura Highway, but Horse with No Name is up there for one of the worst songs of all time: In the desert you can remember your name, 'cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain. And that's not even considering the plants and birds and rocks and things. The song makes me yearn for the apocalypse when it will be wiped from the face of the earth and buried under the sand--ok...t h e horse can live but must be named.
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im so before my time !!! I know this material word for word !!! im only 46 years old !!! guess it was the influence my mom dad and aunt had with me as a young man !!! music=love !!!
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Does she really love me? Daisy Jane
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good times back then
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so right
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So true... Terrypayne79 ~ ~
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terrypayne79
America is not what it used to be
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You can do magic. Loved this song for years. Fantastic band.
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This song was the best when I was little
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Memories of this song When I was in junior high. Love it!
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successbroke r s
i love this music
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Wish this music would come back
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Yes it does touch the soul
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It touches the soul, I love it!
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dragonlady60 8 8
excellent. excellent. group.¡¡¡\\
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This was never Neil Young's voice. He was never in the band America
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I remember his song. Love it. Memories.
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Psmallone from san antonio texas, i need you
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Thanks to my parents, I grew up with this kind of music! The kind that speaks to your soul!
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Dam im getting old i love this song
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The guy on the left in the photos is handsome
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Sister Goldenhair: No, but I need my blonde hilites back.
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Tin Man is awesome!!
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martavrenna
I have always loved this group and would love to hear more!
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Amazing love it
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The way music should be. Great melody,harmo n i e s and lyrical hooks. Sounds fantastic after a couple good tokes ... . Yes, indeed, Peace.
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Vincent we all miss you. You loved 70's music! This one's for you
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1971 was in germany usaf...bitbu r g air base
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michelleholm e s 6 7
My 10 year has the lyrics memorized. Great song!
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So many great songs that seem to capture a place in time from this band...
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Great song when you're all bummed out
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Great band so many good tunes
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I love this group America one of my favorites group eveeeer, to bad they don't make music like this any more. My favorite is and I think everyone, Ventura highway. Bring good memories!��
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rodri_sparks
One of the best groups ever!! to bad not around any longer.
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Those where the days peace out
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As a devout traditional country music listener even I have to say that America was awesome. Sister Golden Hair is my favorite! Just like country, they don't make music like America did. Also loved Chicago and The Moody Blues. Nothing like that around anymore.
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What's the deal with all the potty mouth. You know that music is not trashy and the rest is just history. I just got to be honest with you on this one. You are the best thing. Love America.
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ENGAGED TO SISTER GOLDEN HAIR... LOST HER ON VENTURA HIGHWAY..

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I love this music!
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They don't make music like this anymore.
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ccdenney6
The early part of the new millennium did not start until 2001, not 2000.
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