America

Three sons of officers in the US Air Force, Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peek grew up in London when their fathers were stationed in England, dreaming of being the next Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young they formed the band America. Their crafted harmonies and rootsy, acoustic rock proved an instant success when debut single Horse With No Name became a huge international hit, reaching Number 1 in the US and selling over a million copies. Their self-titled album America (1972) also topped the US charts and became regarded by critics as a folk pop classic and the band went on to score a string of hits throughout the 1970s including I Need You, Ventura Highway, Tin Man, Lonely People and their second US Number 1 Sister Golden Hair. Albums Homecoming (1972), Holiday (1974), Hearts (1975) and Hideaway (1976) all made the US Top 10 as the band developed a jangly, electric, soft rock sound inspired by working with The Beatles producer George Martin. Peek left the band in 1977 and, despite one last hit in 1980 with the synthesized pop of You Can Do Magic, their popularity completely dwindled until Fountains of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger and Smashing Pumpkins' James Idha helped produce a nostalgic return with the album Here & Now (2007); featuring guest appearances from fans Ryan Adams, Ben Kweller and members of Nada Surf and My Morning Jacket. Still performing despite the death of Peek in 2011, America were given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and are remembered as one of the folk rock's biggest acts of the 1970s.

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07-07-2011