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America

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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
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Albums by
America

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    14 songs

    On Air

    Live

    24 songs

    On Air

    Here & Now

    25 songs

    On Air

    Here & Now [Bonus Track]

    12 songs

    On Air

    Harbor

    13 songs

    On Air

    Hideaway

    11 songs

    On Air

    Hat Trick

    12 songs

    On Air

    Holiday

    11 songs

    On Air

    Perspective

    11 songs

    On Air

    Silent Letter

    11 songs

    On Air

    Your Move

    12 songs

    On Air

    Hearts

    11 songs

    On Air

    Alibi

    10 songs

    On Air

    A View from the Ground

    10 songs

    On Air

    Homecoming

    12 songs

    On Air

    America

    96 songs

    On Air

    The Warner Bros. Years 1971-1977

    82 songs

    On Air

    The Complete Warner Bros. Collection

    19 songs

    On Air

    The Complete Greatest Hits [Japan]

    1 song

    On Air

    You Can Do Magic

    1 song

    On Air

    Horse With No Name

    1 song

    On Air

    I Need You

    1 song

    On Air

    Sister Golden Hair

    1 song

    On Air

    Ventura Highway

    17 songs

    On Air

    Struttin' Our Stuff

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Top Songs by
America

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   A Horse With No Name
  3.   Ventura Highway
  4.   Sister Golden Hair
  5.   Tin Man
  6.   Lonely People
  7.   I Need You
  8.   You Can Do Magic
  9.   Daisy Jane
  10.   Don't Cross the River
  11.   Muskrat Love
  12.   Sandman
  13.   Today's the Day
  14.   Woman Tonight
  15.   Rainy Day
  16.   Three Roses
  17.   Moon Song
  18.   Right Before Your Eyes
  19.   Riverside
  20.   Homecoming... The Sophomore Album
  21.   Til I Hear It from You
  22.   Now That I'm a Woman
  23.   Pages
  24.   In the Studio
  25.   Red Soup
  26. See All Songs

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