Follow TV Tropes


Music / America

Go To
Left to right: Gerry Beckley, Dan Peek and Dewey Bunnell.

"I've been through the desert on a horse with no name,
It felt good to be out of the rain,
In the desert you can remember your name,
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain."
"A Horse with No Name"

America is a Soft Rock band, originally formed in London, but based out of California for virtually all of their career, who had their greatest success in The '70s. While never critical favorites, they had a handful of hits which are fondly remembered by fans. The band's vintage lineup consisted of Gerry Beckley, Dan Peek, and Dewey Bunnell. Peek left the group in 1977 and died in 2011, but Beckley and Bunnell continue to tour and record as America to this day.

Among their hit songs are "A Horse with No Name", "I Need You", "Ventura Highway", "Tin Man", "Lonely People", "Sister Golden Hair", "You Can Do Magic", and... "Muskrat Love". ("A Horse with No Name" and "Sister Golden Hair" are more pleasant to humans.)

George Martin produced five of this band's albums.

Principal Members (Founding members in bold, current members in italic):

  • Gerry Beckley – vocals, guitars, percussion (1970–present)
  • Dewey Bunnell – vocals, guitars, percussion (1970–present)
  • Dan Peek – guitars, bass, keyboards, harmonica (1970–77; died 2011)

You're the one who can put out the tropes:

  • Album Title Drop: A subversion—while Your Move has a standard title track, the title is also dropped in the video to the album's lead single, "The Border".
  • Artistic Stimulation
  • The Band Minus the Face: Never the same after Dan Peek left.
  • Buffy Speak: 'There were plants and birds and rocks and things' in "A Horse with No Name".
  • Captain Obvious: In "A Horse with No Name", the singer feels the need to point out that 'The heat was hot'.
  • Chronological Album Title: Hat Trick is a kind of Stealth Pun example; it's their third album, and "hat trick" is a sports term that denotes a player or team accomplishing a feat three times.
  • Cover Album: Back Pages, which even includes a cover of "America".
  • Everyone Went to School Together: The three members of the classic lineup met while attending a U.S. military high school near London.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Check out the comments here for examples:
  • Greatest Hits Album: History, featuring cover art by Phil Hartman (who was an artist before he became a comedian and actor), is the most famous one, though since it was released in 1975, it does not feature later period hits such as "You Can Do Magic" and "The Border".
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: "Daisy Jane".
  • Ice-Cream Koan: "A Horse with No Name"
  • Idiosyncratic Album Theming: They once gave seven consecutive albums titles beginning with the letter H. (Their greatest hits collection was titled History simply to fit this pattern.) Later in their careers, they did four more in a row like that.
  • Intercourse with You: "Muskrat Love"
  • Location Song: "Ventura Highway".
  • Long-Runner Line-up: Type 2, with Beckley and Bunnell since 1977.
  • Lyrical Shoehorn: "A Horse with No Name" contains lines like "there were plants and birds and rocks and things", "the heat was hot" and "cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain".
  • Military Brat: In real life; see Everyone Went to School Together. Note also that Dewey Bunnell was born in England.
  • Name Amnesia: The song "Horse with No Name" claims an Averted Trope example; because you're alone, it's actually easier to maintain your identity since no one is around to influence you.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Gerry Beckley appeared in publicity photos for one album in a pair of pink overalls...with no shirt underneath.
  • Silly Love Songs: "Sister Golden Hair"
  • The Not-Remix: History features these for several early songs, resulting in subtle-but-noticeable changes from the original album versions.
  • Title Track: Hat Trick and Your Move are straight examples. Three other albums are minor aversions. Hideaway has tracks titled "Hideaway Part I" and "Hideaway Part II". The standard version of Here & Now averts this, but the version sold at Best Buy includes "Here & Now" as a bonus track. Finally, the closing track on Back Pages is Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages".
  • Textless Album Cover: The aforementioned History: America's Greatest Hits had one of these in its original vinyl release (albeit with a title sticker on the shrink wrap), as did Hideaway and Harbor. Later reissues of all three had cover text added.
  • Unplugged Version: Songs such as "A Horse with No Name" and "Sandman" use no electric guitars.
  • Vocal Tag Team: They had no official lead singer; generally, whoever wrote a song was the one who sang it.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Ventura Highway" contains a couple of lines which writer Dewey Bunnell claims contain meaning but which listeners would be hard pressed to decipher, chiefly the line about "alligator lizards in the air".
    • Maybe they were having a semantic/philosophical discussion on the tautology involved in the phrase "alligator lizards", as something to pass the time on the drive to Ventura...