Survival - America - 1982 - Pop music 80s

Survival - America - 1982

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America: Biografia | Biography

Source: Wikipedia

America is a rock band, formed in England in 1970 by multi-instrumentalists Dewey Bunnell, Dan Peek, and Gerry Beckley. The trio first met as sons of U.S. Air Force personnel stationed in London, where they began performing live. America achieved 

significant popularity in the 1970s, and was famous for the trio's close vocal harmonies and light acoustic folk sound. This popularity was confirmed by a string of hit albums and singles, many of which found airplay on pop/soft rock stations.

The band came together shortly after the members' graduation from high school, and a record deal with Warner Bros. Records followed. Their debut, a 1971 self-titled album, produced the transatlantic hits "A Horse with No Name" and "I Need You"; Homecoming 

(1972) produced the single "Ventura Highway"; and Hat Trick (1973), a modest success on the charts which fared poorly in sales, produced one minor hit song. 1974's Holiday featured the hits "Tin Man" and "Lonely People"; and 1975's Hearts generated the number one 

single "Sister Golden Hair" alongside "Daisy Jane". History: America's Greatest Hits, a compilation of hit singles, was released the same year and was certified multi-platinum in the United States and Australia. Peek left the group in 1977 and their commercial fortunes declined, despite a brief return to the top in 1982 with the single "You Can Do Magic".

Four decades into their career, the group continues to record material and tour with regularity. Their 2007 album Here & Now was a collaboration with a new generation of musicians who credited the band as an influence. America has been inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

While their fathers were stationed at the United States Air Force base at RAF South Ruislip near London in the mid-1960s, Beckley, Bunnell and Peek attended London Central High School at Bushey Hall where they met while playing in two different bands.

Peek left for the United States for an abortive attempt at college during 1969. Soon after his return to the UK the following year, the three met and began making music together. 

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.

Eventually the trio dubbed themselves America, chosen because they did not want anyone to think they were British musicians trying to sound American.[1] 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. Through Ian Samwell and Jeff Dexter's efforts they were eventually contracted to Kinney Records (UK) in March 1971 by Ian Ralfini and assigned to the UK Warner Brothers label.

Their first album was recorded at Trident Studios in London and produced by Ian Samwell. Samwell was best known for being Cliff Richard's lead guitarist as well as writing Richard's 1958 breakthrough hit, "Move It". Jeff Dexter, Ian's roommate was involved with the music 

business himself. He co-produced the album and became the trio's manager. Dexter also gave them their first major gig, December 20, 1970, at "Implosion" at the Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, as the opening act for The Who, Elton John, Patto and The Chalk Farm 

Salvation Army Band & Choir for a Christmas charity event. Although the trio initially planned to record the album in a similar manner to The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Samwell convinced them to perfect their acoustic style instead.

The debut album was released in 1971 to only moderate success, although it sold well in the Netherlands, where Dexter had taken them as a training ground to practice their craft. Samwell and Dexter subsequently brought the trio to Morgan Studios to record several 

additional songs. One of them was a Bunnell composition called "Desert Song", which Dexter previously demoed during studio rehearsals in Puddletown, Dorset at the home of Arthur Brown. The song had its public debut at The Harrogate Festival, four days later, to 

great audience response. After several performances and a TV show, it was re-titled "A Horse with No Name". 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 added and quickly went platinum. The album resulted in a second major chart success with Beckley's "I Need You", which peaked at No. 9 on the U.S. charts.

After their initial success, the trio decided to dismiss Samwell and Dexter and relocate to Los Angeles, California. The recording of a second album was delayed by the relocation as well as an injury to Peek's arm. Deciding not to replace Samwell, the group opted to 

produce the album by themselves. The trio began their move away from a mainly acoustic style to a more rock-music-oriented style with the help of Hal Blaine on drums and Joe Osborn on bass. Peek began to play lead electric guitar on more tracks and the group 

expanded from an acoustic trio to embrace a fuller live sound, adding Dave Caty on bass and Dave Atwood (who'd played on their debut album) on drums. By the end of 1972, Caty and Atwood were replaced respectively by David Dickey and Willie Leacox, both formerly of the group Captain.

Band member's guitar case in December 1972, from set of AVRO's TopPop.
America's second album, Homecoming, was released in November 1972. Awarded a gold disc in December 1972, the million sales figure was confirmed by the R.I.A.A. in 1975. The 

group reached the top 10 again with Bunnell's "Ventura Highway". Other singles, including Peek's "Don't Cross the River" and Beckley's "Only in Your Heart", were only modestly successful, but the group still won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist of 1972.

The group's output grew increasingly ambitious. Their third offering, Hat Trick, was released in October 1973 following several months of recording at the Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles. Again self-produced, the album featured strings, harmonicas, an eight-minute title 

track, and tap dancing. Beckley, Bunnell and Peek were once again joined by Blaine on drums, while Osborn was replaced by their touring bassist, David Dickey. The album was 

not as successful as Homecoming, featuring only one modestly successful single, "Muskrat Love" (No. 67 in the U.S.). Penned by Texas folk singer Willis Alan Ramsey, Captain & Tennille would take the song to the top 10 in late 1976.

After the disappointing commercial performance of the album Hat Trick (1973), America chose to enlist an outside producer for their next album. They were able to secure the 

services of producer George Martin and recording engineer Geoff Emerick, who played a major role in shaping the sound of the Beatles. Sessions took place at AIR Studios in London and Montserrat in the Caribbean.

The resulting album, Holiday, was released in June 1974. (By this time the group had consciously begun naming their albums with titles starting with the letter "H".) With Martin's guidance, the album's style was very different from America's first three efforts, as he enhanced America's acoustic sound with strings and brass.

The trio soon found themselves in the Top Ten once again with the first single from Holiday, the Bunnell-penned "Tin Man", which reached No. 4, featuring cryptic lyrics set to a Wizard 

of Oz theme. "Lonely People" (a song written by the newly-wed Dan and Catherine Peek[4]) followed "Tin Man" into the top ten in early 1975, becoming Dan Peek's only credited song to reach there, peaking at No. 5.

Martin worked with the trio again for their next LP, Hearts, recorded in Sausalito, California and released in March 1975. America scored its second chart topping success with Beckley's "Sister Golden Hair" in mid-1975, a song which featured a memorable opening 

guitar riff admittedly inspired by George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" and frank relationship lyrics admittedly inspired by Jackson Browne. The follow-up single, Beckley's ballad "Daisy 

Jane", also scored among the Top Twenty shortly after. Peek's reggae-influenced "Woman Tonight" was a third success (number 44 in the U.S.) from the album towards the end of the year.

Warner Bros. released a compilation of America's best-known tracks in December 1975, History: America's Greatest Hits, which scored platinum. Martin, who produced the album, remixed those tracks which were culled from the group's first three albums.

During early 1976, the group recorded its sixth studio album at Caribou Ranch near Nederland, Colorado, inspiring the album's title, Hideaway, which Martin directed again. Released during April 1976, it saw the band's popularity severely faltering, as the two 

singles, "Today's the Day" and "Amber Cascades", only managed to reach number 23 and 75 (respectively) in the Billboard charts. Songs like "Jet Boy Blue" and "Don't Let It Get You Down" received a lot of airplay on FM Stations.

Martin's implementation of more complex instrumentation on America's albums proved somewhat overwhelming to the band on stage, often compelling them to switch from 

instrument to instrument during songs.For their 1976 tour, the group expanded their stage line-up to include Jim Calire on keyboards and sax and Tom Walsh on percussion so that they could more comfortably perform Martin's arrangements.

Martin and the trio went to Hawaii during late 1976 to work on the group's seventh studio album. The album was recorded in a beach house on the island of Kauai. The album, 

Harbor, released in February 1977, continued the trend of decreasing sales for the group. It was their first album that failed to score either platinum or gold, and all three of its singles failed to chart.

In May 1977, Dan Peek left the band. Peek recently had renewed his Christian faith after years of recreational drug use and had begun to seek a different artistic direction from Beckley or Bunnell. The break with the band was amicable.

Peek contracted with Pat Boone's Lamb & Lion Records, and issued his first solo album, All
Things Are Possible, in 1978. The album, produced by Chris Christian, was successful, and Peek became a pioneering artist in the emerging Christian popular music genre. The title track entered the Billboard pop charts during the autumn of 1979, peaking at number 78.

Meanwhile, Beckley and Bunnell decided to continue as America, ending their contract with Warner Bros. with the release of their first concert LP, Live, during October 1977. Recorded at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, the performance featured a backing orchestra 

conducted by Elmer Bernstein. The concert was recorded shortly after Peek left the group. The album was only mildly successful on the popular charts; whereas all of their previous albums, even Harbor, had at least made the Top 30, Live just barely inched into the top 130.

After more than two years without new studio material, Beckley and Bunnell presented the group's new style with a cover of The Mamas & the Papas' "California Dreamin'" in March 

1979. It was featured on the soundtrack for the movie California Dreaming. Although the movie was unsuccessful and the soundtrack was issued by an obscure distributor known as American International, the single reached No. 56 on the charts.

America's first studio album without Peek, Silent Letter, was released in June 1979 on their new label, Capitol Records. The album, once again produced by George Martin, was recorded in Montserrat in the West Indies with the members of the live band: David Dickey, 

Willie Leacox, Michael Woods, Jim Calire and Tom Walsh. The group began to utilize songs from other songwriters as they sought to increase their commercial success. The album scored no higher than No. 110 on the charts, leading Bunnell sarcastically to dub the album 

Silent Record. During the latter part of 1979, Calire and Walsh were dropped from the on-stage line-up. Session bassist Bryan Garafalo replaced Dickey in 1980 and Bradley Palmer took over from Garafalo in 1981.

America continued to evolve as the 1980s began. For their next album, Alibi, released in August 1980, Beckley and Bunnell sought fresh personnel in the form of producers Matthew McCauley and Fred Mollin. They also employed players from the West Coast, such as the 

Eagles' Timothy B. Schmit, Leland Sklar and Steve Lukather, to help improve their sound. Alibi eschewed the strings and brass of a typical George Martin project in favor of a more 

popular-rock style. It also became the third studio album in a row without a successful single in the United States, although Beckley's "Survival" scored the top of the charts in Italy. The album's sales maximized at No. 142.

America's next album, View from the Ground, released in July 1982, saw the group finally score another commercial success. The album, recorded under the working title Two Car Garage, featured a number of songs produced by the duo themselves. As with Alibi (1980), 

Beckley and Bunnell brought in a number of high-profile musicians, including the Beach Boys' Carl Wilson, Toto's Jeff Porcaro, Christopher Cross and Dean Parks. But it was former Argent guitarist Russ Ballard who had the greatest effect on the group's fortunes. 

Ballard produced and played all of the instruments and sang most of the background vocals on a song he crafted especially for the band, called "You Can Do Magic". The song rose quickly through the pop charts, and scored as high as No. 8 on the Billboard pop singles 

chart for a number of weeks during October 1982, the band's first major success in seven years. Following "Magic" was the single "Right Before Your Eyes", an homage to silent movie actors better known to listeners as "Rudolph Valentino" due to its memorable refrain. 

Written by Ian Thomas (brother of comedian Dave Thomas of Strange Brew fame), and produced by Bobby Colomby, the single barely missed a spot in the Top Forty during early 1983. Although View From The Ground failed to achieve gold-rated sales, it scored as high as No. 41 on the album charts, a significant improvement over the previous few releases.

Having had some success with Ballard, Beckley and Bunnell decided to have the former Argent performer produce their next album, Your Move, in its entirety. In the end, Ballard wrote most of the songs and performed most of the instruments in addition to his production 

duties. For the most part, Beckley and Bunnell were singers on an album that Ballard had crafted for them, although they did contribute some material of their own. On one track, Bunnell decided to rewrite Ballard's lyrics, and the successful song "The Border" was the 

result. Set to the backing of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the saxophone work of Raphael Ravenscroft, the single scored No. 33 on the charts in August 1983. "The Border" was much more successful on the adult contemporary charts, where it scored No. 4 (even 

besting "You Can Do Magic"). It also made No. 24 on the Dutch Top 40. A second single, Ballard's "Cast the Spirit", failed to chart. The album itself, released in June 1983, was reasonably successful at No. 81, but something of a disappointment, when compared to its predecessor.[according to whom?]

America's work was also featured on several soundtracks during this period. Beckley and Bunnell provided vocals to several Jimmy Webb compositions for the film The Last Unicorn 

in 1982. The soundtrack became popular in Germany, and the group frequently plays its title track, when touring in that country. America also recorded "Love Comes Without Warning" for the 1984 Steve Martin comedy The Lonely Guy.

Dan Peek emerged from several years of musical obscurity during May 1984, releasing his second solo Christian album, Doer of the Word, on Home Sweet Home Records. Once 

again produced by Chris Christian, the album's title track featured Beckley on backing vocals. Peek would issue two more solo albums over the next few years: Electro Voice (1986) and Crossover (1987).

Meanwhile, America opted for a decidedly different style from its previous offerings for its twelfth studio album, Perspective, released in September 1984. Ballard was out, and synthesizers and drum machines were in. Several different producers, including Richie Zito, 

Matthew McCauley, and Richard James Burgess, helped create an electronic popular style, that was very common during the 1980s, but drastically different from America's usual style. "Special Girl", the album's first single, was culled from hired songwriters and failed to make 

the charts. The next single, "Can't Fall Asleep to a Lullaby", was co-written by Bunnell, Journey's Steve Perry, Robert Haimer, and Bill Mumy, the latter of Lost in Space and 

Babylon 5 fame. Although neither track was played on popular radio, both did achieve minor success on the adult contemporary charts. The album peaked at No. 185 during a three-week stint on the charts in October 1984.

Their mainstream commercial success over, Beckley and Bunnell ended their Capitol contract with In Concert, released in July 1985. The concert was recorded at the Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara, California, on June 1, 1985. In Concert became the first America album to miss the charts entirely.

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