Dewey Bunnell, Dan Peek, and Gerry Beckley founded the British-American rock group America in London in 1970. The trio first came together while living in London as the stationed sons of US Air Force personnel. The three was well-known for its close vocal harmonies and light acoustic folk rock sound when it attained substantial popularity in the 1970s. The group put out a number of successful albums and singles, several of which were played on pop/soft rock radio.
In the late 1960s, soon after each member’s high school graduation, the band was formed. Peek joined the group in 1970, and they subsequently inked a record deal with Warner Bros. They published their self-titled first album the following year, which featured the international successes “A Horse with No Name” and “I Need You.” Although it did well in the Netherlands, where Dexter had taken them as a training ground to hone their skill, the debut album America was released in late December 1971 to only middling success. The group was later brought to Morgan Studios by Samwell and Dexter to record further songs. One of these was a Bunnell piece titled “Desert Song,” which Dexter had previously performed during recording sessions in Arthur Brown’s home in Puddletown, Dorset. Four days later, at the Harrogate Festival, the song made its public debut to an enthusiastic audience. It was renamed “A Horse with No Name” following multiple performances and a TV show. Early in 1972, the song achieved widespread success. In March 1972, the RIAA gave it a gold disc for having sold over a million copies. The hit song was added to America’s debut album, which was released in the US that same month and rapidly achieved platinum status. With Beckley’s “I Need You,” which peaked at number 9 on the US charts, the album achieved a second significant chart triumph.
The track “Ventura Highway” appeared on their second album, Homecoming (1972). The band proceeded to put out successful songs over the following several years, including “Muskrat Love” on Hat Trick (1973), “Tin Man” and “Lonely People” on Holiday (1974), and “Sister Golden Hair” and “Daisy Jane” on their 1975 album Hearts. America also published History: America’s Greatest Hits in 1975. This hit singles collection earned multi-platinum certification in the US and Australia. When Peek left the group in 1977, their commercial success suffered; however, in 1982, with the single “You Can Do Magic,” they were once again in the top 10. “The Border,” which peaked at number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1983, was the group’s final Top 40 hit. The band continues to release music and go on tour frequently. A new generation of performers that cite the band as an influence collaborated on its 2007 album Here & Now.
At the 15th Annual Grammy Awards in 1973, America was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Group and won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. The group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012 after being inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2006.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Was The Biggest Hit?
America had many big hits, but their most famous song is probably “A Horse with No Name.” The song was released in 1972 and quickly rose to the top of the charts, becoming one of the most popular songs of that year. America continued to have success throughout the 1970s and 1980s, releasing a number of hit singles and albums. They are still active today, though they have not had any major chart success in recent years.
Is America In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?
Yes, in 2006 America was introduced into the Vocal Group Hall of Frame.
What Is America’s Biggest Selling Album?
The group’s best-selling album was their 1975 release, America’s Greatest Hits sold over seven million copies.