Thursday, April 9, 2015

America's Most Beloved Highway

In the '70s, classic rock was considered an American culture. After its introduction in the previous decade, the genre evolved into a veritable form of self-expression and free speech while appealing to the American public. Among others, one notable band emerged and left an impressive mark in the still-wet concrete of early classic rock. America, consisting of Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell, and Dan Peek, was considered a soft rock band while incorporating elements of  folk rock. As mentioned before, the three hippies took wise advantage of the "British invasion" and made their mark in America (no pun intended). Though born in America and raised acquainted with American culture, the trio lived predominantly in Britain as youngsters. Their nostalgic view of America and its liberties as a country led them to the name of their band.

One of America's most classic and popular songs is "I Need You", their first intended single for radio as well as the first song written by Gerry Beckley. Today their songs remain popular among classic rock enthusiasts and those with an appreciation for the mellow tunes and meaningful lyrics used by these three musicians. Other hit songs are as follows: "Ventura Highway", "Sister Golden Hair", "A Horse with No Name" (first and biggest hit in the United States), "Sandman", "Chasing the Rainbow", "Tin Man" (one of my favorites as far as lyrics go), and more.
After nine days I let the horse run free'Cause the desert had turned to sea.There were plants and birds and rocks and things,There was sand and hills and rings.The ocean is a desert with its life underground,And a perfect disguise above.Under the cities lies a heart made of ground,But the humans will give no love.
~"A Horse with No Name" (1971) 
After many phases of new members entering and leaving the group, the three British musicians remained a part of the band until their breakup in 1977.  (As seen in the below pictures, George Martin, producer for the Beatles, also produced for America.)  In 2011, Dan Peek died at the age of 60. As an example of the intense drug and alcohol abuse during this psychedelic era, Peek dedicated the rest of his life to Christian music as a source of comfort after splitting off from his fellow musicians. As a whole, America was one of the few bands to start and end humbly and maintain simple appearances toward the public, unlike the more exaggerated media-imposed domination of the Beatles.

Enjoy viewing the pictures and videos below featuring America. Notice the hip and time-appropriate style that is evident in nearly all of their photos... jeans, jeans, a t-shirt, jeans, long hair, and more jeans.

America as depicted in their 1972 Live Concert Album
Left to Right: Dewey Bunnell, Dan Peek, Gerry Beckley
Left to Right: Dan Peek, Gerry Beckley, Sir George Martin, and Dewey Bunell


July 3, 1976: Bi-Centennial concert performed with the Beach Boys and Santana at Anaheim Stadium

"I Need You"
"Sister Golden Hair"

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