Formed in the late 60s by the offspring of American service personnel stationed in the UK, America comprised Dewey Bunnell (b. 19 January 1951, Harrogate, Yorkshire, England), Dan Peek (b. 1 November 1950, Panama City, Florida, USA) and Gerry Beckley (b. 12 September 1952, Fort Worth, Texas, USA). Heavily influenced by Crosby, Stills And Nash, they employed similarly strong counter-harmonies backed by acoustic guitar. The Ian Samwell-produced single, A Horse With No Name', proved a massive UK Top 5 hit, ironically outselling any single by Crosby, Stills And Nash and sounding more like Neil Young. With backing by Warner Brothers Records, and management by former UK 'underground' disc jockey Jeff Dexter, the single went to the top of the US charts, immediately establishing the band as a top act.
The trio's self-titled debut album was re-released on the back of the single's success. The album topped the US charts for five weeks, fitted perfectly into the soft rock style of the period, and paved the way for a series of further US Top 10 hits including 'I Need You', 'Ventura Highway', 'Tin Man' and 'Lonely People'. David Geffen stepped in and took over the running of their affairs as Dexter was involuntarily pushed aside. With former Beatles producer George Martin in attendance between 1974 and 1977, the trio maintained their popularity in the USA, even returning to number 1 in 1975 with the melodic 'Sister Golden Hair'.
In 1977, America received a serious setback when Dan Peek left the trio, having decided to concentrate on more spiritual material in the wake of his conversion to born-again Christianity. Rather than recruiting a replacement, America continued as a duo, and returned to form in 1982 with the Russ Ballard-produced View From The Ground, which included the US Top 10 hit single 'You Can Do Magic'. Since then they have maintained a low commercial profile. They returned (still as a duo) with a new album in 1994. Hourglass was a smooth and gentle affair, although ultimately dull. The duo's subsequent efforts no doubt please their existing fans, but have failed to make any new converts to what essentially remains dated, mid-70s west coast rock
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