Sunday, January 19, 2014

January 19: Dewey Bunnell of "America" - ”Horse with No Name," "Ventura Highway"- "Tin Man" - is 62-years-old today.

Dewey Bunnell was born in Harrogate, Yorkshire, England. The group America is an American folk rock band, composed originally of members Bunnell, Gerry Beckley and Dan Peek. Bunnell sang lead and backing vocals, guitar and percussion.

Their recording success was almost entirely throughout the 1970s; some of the band's best known songs are "A Horse with No Name," "Sister Golden Hair" (both of which reached #1), "Ventura Highway," "Tin Man," "Daisy Jane," and "Lonely People."

The Sons of U.S. fathers and British mothers, their fathers being military personnel stationed at the United States Air Force base at RAF West Ruislip, London, all three attended London Central High School at Bushey Hall, about 16 miles Northwest of London in the mid-1960s, where they met while playing in two different bands.

Peek left for the United States college during 1969. Soon after his return to the UK the following year, the three met and began to collaborate on making music. Starting out with borrowed acoustic guitars, they developed a style which incorporated three-part vocal harmony with the style of contemporary folk-rock acts, much like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

The trio dubbed themselves America, honoring the name of the homeland they had hardly ever seen during their travels around the world. The liner notes to the 1975 compilation album History - America's Greatest Hits states the band took their name while listening to an Americana juke box.

They played their first gigs in the London area, including some highlights at The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm where Pink Floyd had played at the beginning of its career. They were eventually contracted to Kinney Records (UK) in March 1971 by Ian Ralfini.

The three members were barely past their teenage years when they became a musical sensation during 1972, scoring #1 hits and winning a Grammy for best new musical artist.

(Press album cover for direct link to the entire Amazon Website):

America - The Complete Greatest Hits


America's debut album, America, was released in 1971 to only moderate success. Returning to the studio, they recorded several additional songs. One song was a piece written by Bunnell called "Desert Song." After several performances and a TV show, it was re-titled "A Horse with No Name."

The song was banned by some U.S. radio stations because of supposed drug references, since "horse" is a common slang term for heroin. Bunnell has said it was a song about a long distance trip through the desert he took with his parents when he was a kid.

Regardless, the song ascended to number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and the album quickly reached platinum status. The song did chart earlier in the Netherlands (reaching number 11) and the UK (reaching number 3), than it actually did in the United States.

The song became a major worldwide hit in early 1972. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in March 1972. America's debut album was re-released with the hit song newly added and quickly went platinum. The album resulted in a second major chart success with Beckley's "I Need You," which peaked at #9 on the U.S. charts.


The band suffered a heavy blow when Dan Peek quit the group in 1977, but Beckley and Bunnell returned America to the top 10 as a duo with "You Can Do Magic" in 1982. On January 16, 2007, America released Here & Now, the band's first major label studio album in over twenty years.

Continuing to tour, America maintains a loyal fan base and performs over 100 shows per year. In late September 2010, they played three dates in Brazil with Chicago. For the first three weeks of October 2010, America resumed touring the US and Canada with seven more dates.

In October/November, America teamed up with Chicago, Peter Frampton, and Brian Wilson (on selected dates) to tour Australia, with shows in Sydney, Wollongong, Brisbane, Melbourne, Hunter Valley, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth.

For more about Dewey and America, visit their Website at -


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