Five For Friday: America (Yacht Rock)

Dewey Bunnell, Dan Peek, and Gerry Beckley formed America while they were still in high school and their parents were stationed in London. Signed to a record deal after they graduated, they got their start in 1971 with their eponymous first album, which gave them their first single, "A Horse With No Name." After several hits in the early ’70’s, they began to work with producer George Martin in 1974 and worked with him through 1979. Peek left the group in 1977 and became a pioneer in Christian contemporary music, recording for Pat Boone’s Lion & Lamb Records until his death in 2011. Bunnell and Beckley are still active and releasing albums (their most recent being Heritage II: Demos/Alternate Takes, 1971-1979, released this past April), though they haven’t had a hit since "The Border" in 1983. I frequently see them in advertisements of ’70’s cruises, though there haven’t been any so far this year.

# Song Remarks
1 “Lonely People” Written by Dan and Catherine Peek, this appeared on their 1974 album Holiday, their first album with George Martin as producer. It was released as a single in November 1974 and reached #5 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Easy Listening charts in 1975.
2 “Daisy Jane” Written by Gerry Beckley and appeared on their 1975 album Hearts, this reached #20 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the Easy Listening chart. On hearing Janet Jackson’s 1986 hit “Let’s Wait Awhile,” a member of the road crew let Beckley know that it sounded a lot like this song, and Jackson and Beckley reached an out-of-court settlement.This was the last Top 20 hit to feature Dan Peek, who left in 1977.
3 “Today’s The Day” Written by Dan Peek, this appeared on their 1976 album Hideaway. It reached #23 on the Hot 100 (their last Top 40 hit as a trio) and #1 on the Easy Listening chart, their last. It inspired Rod Stewart to write “Tonight’s The Night (Gonna Be All Right),” which spent eight weeks at #1 on the Hot 100.
4 “You Can Do Magic” Their first hit as a duo, this was written by Russ Ballard and appeared on America’s 1982 album View From The Ground (on which Bill Mumy, from the ’60’ TV series Lost In Space, had several writing credits). This was a comeback song, reaching #8 on the Hot 100 and #5 on the Adult Contemporary chart. It was the #65 song for the year.
5 “The Border” From the 1983 album Your Move, this song was written by Russ Ballard and Dewey Bunnell. It became their last Top 40 hit, reaching #33, but reached #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart. It also reached #1 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart.

America, your Five For Friday, September 4, 2020.

17 thoughts on “Five For Friday: America (Yacht Rock)

  1. I guess I’m a fan of “yacht rock,” though I wouldn’t think to call it that. America is one of my all time favorites. If they ever make a movie out of my memoir, I hope “Lonely People” will play at the end.

    Like

    1. It’s light rock, and that’s what it was called until someone came out with a TV series that called it yacht rock. A lot of the music of the mid to late ’70’s was depressing, but this was more upbeat.

      Liked by 1 person

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